Bunions (Hallux Valgus)

What is a Bunion?

Hallux Valgus is the scientific name for a bunion, which refers to a condition in which the big toe is angled towards the second toe.
There are different stages of a bunion which are shown below:
A –  Grade 1 (no deformity); B – grade 2 (mild deformity); C – grade 3 (moderate deformity); D –  grade 4 (severe deformity).

What Causes a Bunion

  • Genetics 
  • Hypermobile joints– If there is hypermobility the great toe the joint will not be as stable. This is problematic as the long muscles that move the toe can cause the great toe to deviate
  • Biomechanical abnormalities – Having a flat foot may exaggerate the force that causes the great toe to deviate medially
  • Tight ill fitting shoes – Shoes that put pressure on the inside of the joint if worn for a prolonged period of time can result in the increased risk of a bunion
  • Certain medical conditions – Rheumatoid arthritis and other connective tissue disorders can result in the formation of a bunion

Complications of a Bunion

  • Pain
  • Difficulty finding footwear
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Arthritis

Treatment of a Bunion

Conservative options have been reported across the literature with mixed results.  Once the toe has started to deviate there are NO conservative options to fix the deviation that has occurred.

There are some treatment options suggested to  reduce the progression of a bunion (although these have not been rigorously investigated) some proposed treatment options include:

  • Wider fitting shoes with a more supportive sole
  • Correcting the alignment of the foot – it has been suggested that having a flat foot may increase the progression of a bunion (minimal evidence) and therefore correcting the alignment of the foot may reduce the progression of the bunion (minimal evidence)
  • Wearing bunion splints (these may help while wearing the brace but the toe will return to normal when not wearing the brace)



When do I need surgery for my Bunion?

Surgery is generally considered a last  resort for a bunion. Typically surgery is reserved for people with painful bunions or when the bunion deformity is negatively impacting on your life, or is causing chronic problems such as wounds  or secondary complications such as lesser toe pathology or metatarsalgia.

The risks and benefits should be thoroughly  considered before having any operation for a bunion



The Foot and Ankle Centre’s Northcote Podiatrists can help you with all lower limb complaints, including Bunions. Make an appointment to get your foot and ankle pain under control.

Expert Podiatrists for the treatment of a Bunion servicing the areas of Northcote, Thornbury, Fitzroy, North Fitzroy, Carlton, North Carlton, Alphington, Fairfield, Brunswick, Coburg and Preston