A Bunion (also known as “hallux valgus”) is a deformity affecting the joint that connects the big toe to the foot ( the “first metatarsophalangeal joint” – or “MTP” joint). The 1st MTP joint is critical for bearing and distributing our body’s weight when we’re on our feet. Although many think the bony protrusion at the base of the big toe is due to a bony growth, it is actually due to the misalignment of the joint as the big toe bends towards the second. The joint often becomes stiff, inflamed and painful. The outward protrusion of the joint can also make it difficult to find proper-fitting shoes.
Bunions are common: they affect about 23% of adults and occur more frequently in women than men. A bunion is a progressive foot deformity, meaning they usually form slowly over time. It is also irreversible without surgical intervention, although surgery is only indicated if it significantly disrupts one’s quality of life. For most people, conservative routes of treatment will suffice to manage pain and slow down the progression of the bunion and to prevent other painful disorders, like bursitis and arthritis.
When a bunion affects the joint at the base of the little toe, it’s called a “bunionette”.
Bunions are a progressive disorder and develop slowly over time. Signs and symptoms include:
Any one (or a combination) of the following factors can cause or contribute to bunions.
While they may be beautiful, those beloved fancy high heels may be why bunions are more prevalent in women than men: the joint at the base of our big toe carries up to 60% of our body weight when walking and up to 3 times our body weight when jogging or running. When we wear high heels or repeatedly squeeze our feet into ill-fitting footwear, even more weight is put on that joint, which can trigger a bunion to form if we’re predisposed to them.
Once a bunion develops, narrow or tight fitting shoes will squeeze and put more pressure on the joint, which causes the bunion to grow.
The goal of treating bunions is to resolve foot pain so that you can resume normal activities. The deformity itself cannot be fully corrected without surgery; however in most cases bunions can be effectively managed by conservative, non-surgical methods. Such treatments include:
All of these treatments are available in our foot clinic.
To treat your bunions, book a foot assessment with one of our chiropodists using our online booking form below, or call us at 416-769-3338 – no referral required! Our foot clinic is open Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 6pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 4pm.
The following risk factors and activities can make one more vulnerable to developing bunions:
The most effective and practical thing you can do to prevent bunions is wear proper footwear. You can do this by:
It’s important to remember: there is no need to sacrifice your feet for fashion. You may love the shoes, but if they don’t love you back, the relationship may not work out. The specially curated selection of shoes and custom dress shoe orthotics at Feet First are living proof that you can be stylish and kind to your feet. After all, you deserve shoes that love you as much as you love them.
If you already have bunions, you can prevent the condition from getting worse by:
The knowledgeable foot specialists at Feet First Clinic can help you find bunion-friendly shoes, sandals and boots that suit the unique shape and biomechanical needs of your feet. Book an appointment with a chiropodist today if you want to seek treatment for bunions or to determine if you may be at risk of developing bunions based on your family history, gait patterns, and foot alignment.