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Facts on Bunions

  • Bunions are localized enlargements of bone and tissue on the sides and/or top of the joint at either the base of the big toe or smallest toe (bunionette).
  • The common bunion is located at the base of the big toe (the first metatarsophalangeal joint). The enlargement is often a combination of bone and joint malalignment in combination with tissue inflammation.
  • The common bunion is frequently associated with an inward displacement deformity of the big toe that is medically referred to as a hallux abducto valgus deformity.
  • Bunions are categorized as mild, moderate, or severe.
  • A bunion at the base of the smallest (fifth or little) toe is referred to as a tailor's bunion or bunionette.
  • This is because this bunion was noticed to be associated with pressure on the little toe of old-fashioned tailors when they sat cross-legged for hours at their craft.
  • Bunions can often be mistaken for hallux rigidus which is similar but typically more arthritic.

Causes of Bunions

Bunions are very common. They are especially painful with the repeated use of pointed-toe, narrow, and high-heeled shoes. This puts added stress and pressure on the tissues at the base of the big toe and/or little toe. Bunions are progressive deformities and tend to become larger with time. The tendency to form bunions is largely inherited since foot function patterns (biomechanics) are inherited.

Last Reviewed 11/17/2017

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Patient Comments & Reviews

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Bunions - Experience

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Bunions - Treatments

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What causes a bunion?

You may get bunions if:

  • The way your foot is shaped puts too much pressure on your big toe joint. Because bunions can run in families, some experts believe that the inherited shape of the foot makes some people more likely to get them.
  • Your foot rolls inward too much when you walk. A moderate amount of inward roll, or pronation, is normal. But damage and injury can happen with too much pronation.
  • You have flat feet.
  • You often wear shoes that are too tight.

All of these may put pressure on the big toe joint. Over time, the constant pressure forces the big toe out of alignment, bending it toward the other toes.

SOURCE: Healthwise

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