A bunion (also referred to as hallux valgus) is often described as a bump on the side of the big toe. But a bunion is more than that. The visible bump actually reflects changes in the bony framework of the front part of the foot. The big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. This throws the bones out of alignment – producing the bunion’s “bump.”
Bunions are a progressive, biomechanical disorder where the big toe is forced across due to a change in bone formation, affecting the first metatarsal phalangeal joint.
Bunions are readily apparent – the prominence is visible at the base of the big toe or side of the foot.
This condition will usually get worse over time. But not all cases are alike – some bunions progress more rapidly than others.
Bunions can be identified by the deviation of the big toe, inflammation of the first metatarsal head, redness and in some, but not all, cases soreness.
Symptoms occur most often when wearing shoes that crowd the toes, such as shoes with a tight toe box or high heels. This may explain why women are more likely to have symptoms than men.
Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. It is not the bunion itself that is inherited, but certain foot types that make a person prone to developing a bunion.
By wearing the right kind of shoes, with a wide toe box, pressure can be reduced around bunions.
Although bunions cannot be reduced, further help can be gained by the use of supportive insoles, helping to evenly redistribute pressures associated with a bunion.
“By taking a mould of your foot, it allows the insole to perfectly follow the contours of your foot, providing support and gently aligning the foot and alleviating pressure on the often painful bunion (especially through the toe off phase of gait). The combination of supportive custom made insoles and custom fit footwear can help to alleviate the symptoms.“