What Are Foot Bunions?

A bunion is a bony lump that is developed inside the big toe joint. It occurs when the bones in the front part of your foot move out of their natural place. A bunion is slow to develop and it changes the structure of the bones, which resulted in a bunion lump. This painful foot bunion is also called or referred to as hallux valgus. Over time, as the bone deformity gradually increases, a person may then feel painful to walk or even wear shoes. Also, aside from the bones, the skin might feel sore and red. According to the doctors, a bunion is a result of wearing tight or narrow shoes. However, it can also occur as a result of the person’s shape of the foot, inherited foot type, or a medical condition like arthritis, particularly the inflammatory type such as rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, foot bunions can also develop on the person’s little toe joint. This type of bunion is smaller in size and is called ‘bunionettes’.

What are the Symptoms of a Foot Bunion?

Anyone can get a foot bunion. However, they are most commonly developed in women’s feet. This is probably because several women prefer to wear tight, pointed, or narrow shoes which make their toes squeezed together. Luckily, there were symptoms to know if you are having a bunion. Some of these include:

  • A lump outside the base of the big toe.
  • Redness, swelling, or soreness around the big toe’s joint.
  • Calluses developed wherein the first and second toes rub against each other.
  • Ongoing or recurring pain.
  • Limited movement of the big toe.

Although the foot bunions generally require no medical treatment, it is important to see your doctor that specializes in treating foot disorders when:

  • There is a very visible lump on the big toes.
  • You’re feeling a recurring pain on your toes or feet.
  • You cannot move your big toe or foot
  • When you cannot find a shoe that would fit because of the bunion.

Doctors may examine your foot and ask you a couple of questions regarding your medical history, overall health, and symptoms. Following that, a foot examination may be performed. Although the doctor may be able to diagnose your bunion based on the appearance and symptoms, doctors may still order an x-ray. The x-ray will be able to provide a clear image of your bone structure. It will also allow the doctors to check the alignment of the toes and look for joint or any other damage. Interestingly, the structure of the bones in our foot changes when we stand or sit. With that, the doctor might also take an x-ray while you are sitting or standing to see a clearer malalignment of the bone. With the help of the x-ray, the doctor can also determine how severe the bunion is and how it will be corrected.

What are the Possible Complications of Foot Bunion?

If a continuing risk were applied, like wearing high-heeled shoes despite having bunions, there might be possible complications that can occur. Some of these were:


A hammertoe is an abnormal bend that is developed at the middle joint of a toe.


This condition may cause swelling and recurring pain in the ball of the foot.


It is a painful condition that affects the ‘bursae’, or fluid-filled sacs cushioning the bones, muscles, and tendons near the joints. Bursitis may occur if there is an inflammation on the bursae.

The following complications may be prevented through choosing your shoes carefully. Shoes should have a wide toe box in order to provide enough space for the toes. As well as that, shoes must conform on the shape of the feet, so it does not press or squeeze any part of the foot. Another option is to put on a protective pad that can cushion the painful area. The sizes of these pads vary. Although this may help, it can also be a factor to increase the pressure on the lump.  Its also important to take care of your feet when you are doing activities such as skiing, running, etc.

In most common cases, bunions can be treated without surgery. However, surgery can help to prevent the bunion from worsening. Also, since you cannot actually reverse a bunion, surgery might be a help to reduce the pain.