Unsightly bulging of the joint of the great toe

Bunions are a result of structural changes to the bones in the foot. These changes may be caused by footwear (poorly fitting or high heeled), or because of poor foot biomechanics. If the cause is not addressed then it is likely that the bunions will progressively worsen. Bunions are commonly seen as the big toe “moving” towards the second toe. You may also experience a bony lump develop, pain, redness or even numbness to the area.

It is important to note that not everyone experiences pain with a bunion. The amount of change that there has been to the bone and soft tissues will determine how much pain you experience, and this varies from case to case.

Your podiatrist will diagnose bunions by differentiating them from similar conditions, such as osteoarthritis and gout, and will determine the extent of any relevant changes. A treatment plan will be established with the aim to reduce any symptoms and slow down progression. This plan will involve a biomechanical assessment to establish any alignment issues. Treatment may involve mobilisation techniques, stretching and strengthening exercises, interdigital wedging, and footwear review. Orthotic therapy may also be necessary. Some bunions cannot be conservatively controlled, and if symptoms persist or if the deformity progresses, surgery may be indicated, and referral to an appropriate podiatric surgeon will be recommended.