A bunion (hallux valgus) is an enlarged bump of tissue or bone around the bottom of the big toe near the joint that causes swelling and tenderness. This enlarged bump is the result of changes in the structure of the bones on the front part of the foot. Bunions develop over time, beginning with the big toe leaning inward which changes the angle of the bones. These structural changes throw the bones that make up the big toe out of alignment and cause inflammation in the bursa (a sac of fluid) that cushions the joints in the big toe. More women than men suffer from bunions and they affect around 4.4 million people each year. Bunions may lead to chronic pain and arthritis and can be corrected by surgery.
Bunion symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people may have all the symptoms and others only one or two.
- Pain near the big toe joint that is constant or occasional
- A large bump at the base of the big toe near the joint
- Redness and swelling of the big toe
- Chronic corns in between the big toe and the second toe
- Trouble moving the big toe
- Thickened, hardened skin on the outside of the big toe and/or the bottom of the foot
- Calluses on the bump or outside of the big toe
- Restricted motion in the big toe
- Difficulty walking