by EBSCO Medical Review Board
(Hallux Valgus)


A bunion is a painful lump at the base of the big toe. Over time, it causes the tip of the big toe to turn toward the other toes. Thebig toe may also overlap the second or third toe.

Copyright © 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.


The exact cause is not known. Genes may play a role.

Risk Factors

Bunions are more common in women and older adults. They are also more common in people who have family members with bunions. Other things that may raise your risk are:

  • Personal or family history of foot deformities
  • Flat feet that put too much weight on the big toe joint
  • Inflammatory joint problems, such as psoriatic arthritis and gout


Bunions may cause:

  • Pain in the big toe and second toe
  • Problems moving the big toe
  • Redness and swelling
  • A firm lump on the inside edge of the foot at the base of the big toe


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and past health. A foot exam will be done. It is diagnosed based on the exam.


The doctor will talk about treatment choices. They may be:

Supportive Care

It is important to ease pressure on the bunion. This may be done with:

  • Padding
  • Shoes that are wide and deep
  • Shoe inserts


Prescription or over-the-counter medicines may be given to ease pain.


Surgery may be done if other treatments have not helped. It can remove the bony lump. The joint may also be realigned.


There are no methods to lower the risk of getting a bunion.


American Podiatric Medical Association 

OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 


Ontario Podiatric Medical Association 

Health Canada 


Bunions. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery website. Available at: Accessed March 25, 2021.

Bunion surgery. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery website. Available at: Accessed March 25, 2021.

Easley ME, Trnka HJ. Current concepts review: hallux valgus part II: operative treatment. Foot Ankle Int. 2007 Jun;28(6):748-758.

Hallux valgus and bunion. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Accessed March 25, 2021.

Revision Information