All About Painful Bunions

All About Painful Bunions

Bunions are painful. But what exactly are they?


Medically known as Hallux Valgus, a bunion is a deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe. It is the most common deformity in the front of the foot and affects 23% of adults between the ages of 18 to 65 years of age. The condition occurs when the big toe moves and points towards the second toe, forcing the first metatarsal and the connecting joint to protrude outwards. This results in the metatarsal head becoming prominent and inflamed. The bursa (a fluid-filled sac) surrounding the joint becomes swollen, causing stiffness and pain.




This condition is also associated with the narrow shoes that women tend to wear. Footwear, with high-heels and heeled boots, often have pointed toe-boxes. These compress the toes together, forcing the big toe to point towards the other toes. It is widely believed that poor footwear is a significant, external contributing factor that triggers bunion formation.


A second potential cause for the Hallux Valgus is suggested to be genetics - an association between flat feet and the Hallux Valgus. Posterior tibial tendon weakness, which can occur around the age of 50, causes flat feet. As the tendon becomes weak, the arch collapses, and the toes are pushed out as a compensatory mechanism. Supporting the arch with an orthotic will prevent the collapse of the arch and thereby prevent the formation of a Bunion.


How are bunions treated?

Painful Bunions can be treated by applying ice and ensuring that the joint is well-rested. Analgesics (pain killers) and anti-inflammatory drugs as prescribed by your doctor will also help in an acute episode.



Orthotics and splints can also help by correcting the alignment, reducing pain, and alleviating pressure on the affected joint.


Click here to learn more about Aetrex Orthotics and Footwear. 

This is an excerpt from the article All About Painful Bunions by Author Mr. George Ampat FRCS (Tr & Orth), Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon. 

Posted on March 09, 2021 by To find out more about bunions, log on to

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