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When the joint that connects the big toe to the foot becomes enlarged and painful, that may be the sign that a bunion has developed. While bunions may occur in families as an inherited trait, they are most common among women who wear tight shoes or shoes that fit poorly. They also occur in individuals who suffer from chronic irritation from arthritis. The condition may become painful as extra bone and a fluid-filled sac grow at the base of the big toe. When the joint thickens and enlarges, the bones of the big toe angle in toward and over the second toe


  • The inside edge of the big toe becomes red and calloused
  • A bony protrusion occurs at the site
  • The joint becomes painful when walking
  • The joint becomes aggravated by pressure from shoes
  • Big toe angle in toward and over the other toes
  • Unable to move affected joint.

Signs and tests

The physical deformity of bunions make it easy to diagnose. However your doctor may still request and x-ray to view the abnormal angle between the big toe and the foot and, in some cases, to identify if there is any arthritis present.


Bunions are often treated without the need for surgery. However it is important to take care of your feet to minimize the chances of developing a bunion or aggravating the condition.

  • Choose shoes that conform to the shape of feet, with wide insteps, broad toes and soft soles.
  • Use of orthotics such as spacers to separate the first and second toes at night or protective pads to cushion the painful joint such as bunion shields
  • Avoid shoes that are higher than 2 ΒΌ inches,

When the bunion gets worse, with painful or severe deformity, surgery may be required to realign the toe and remove the bony bump or any other surgical treatments as determined by your orthopaedic surgeon.


  • Chronic foot pain
  • Deformity of the foot
  • Stiff foot
  • Hallux varus (occurs with surgical over-correction, where the big toe points away from the second toe)


This is a painful swollen lump that sits just at the base of the little toe on the outside of the foot. This is accompanied with corns and bursitis on the same spot. The treatment for this is very much like the treatment for a bunion.