What is a Bunion?
A bunion is a misaligned toe joint which manifests itself as a bony lump at the base of the big toe. It occurs when the long foot bone (the first metatarsal) shifts outwards towards the other foot and the big toe moves inwards towards the 2nd toe, resulting in a misalignment.
The medical name for a bunion is ‘hallux valgus’.
Once the big toe starts leaning towards the second toe, the tendons no longer pull the toe in a straight line, so the problem tends to become progressively worse. Over time, this movement by the big toe can squeeze the other toes into abnormal positions causing more problems such as hammer toes, corns and chronic foot pain.
Bunions are often accompanied by the formation of a bursa (a fluid-filled sac) over the big toe joint. Inflammation of this bursa can cause severe pain.
The size of bunions can vary greatly. Some people have a very mild foot deformity with a small bump and no pain, while others have a large bump with great pain.