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What are bunions of the foot?

A bunion, also referred to as hallux abducto valgus. The visible bump actually reflects changes in the bony and ligamentous structures framework of the forefoot. The big toe leans dives towards the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. This moves other bones out of alignment—producing the bump (bunion).

Bunions are progressive. They begin with a leaning of the big toe, gradually changing the angle of the bones over the years and slowly producing the characteristic bump, which becomes increasingly prominent. Symptoms usually appear at later stages, although some people never have symptoms.


Bunions are most often caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. It is not the bunion itself that is inherited but certain bone structure types and foot types that make a person prone to developing a bunion. Although wearing shoes that crowd the toes will not actually cause bunions, it sometimes makes the deformity get progressively worse. 


  • Pain or soreness

  • Inflammation and redness

  • A burning sensation

  • Possible numbness

Symptoms occur most often when wearing shoes that crowd the toes, such as shoes with a tight toe box or high heels. This may explain why women are more likely to have symptoms than men. In addition, spending long periods of time on your feet can aggravate the symptoms of bunions.

Current management techniques

  • Rest Ice, Compression, Elevation: all these techniques help to control the swelling and pain.

  • Strength exercises specific to stabilisation of the great toe and arch musculature

  • Minimisation of range of motion loss via specific foot exercises

  • Orthotics: these can be an important part of the management plan for bunions.

  • Rehabilitation is important as a lot bunion pain can develop and get worse quickly due to the number of steps we take each day

Global Rehabilitation Network

  • We provide a complete online program of 12 consecutive weeks of instructions on how to conservatively manage this injury

  • We provide a global network of therapists that can chat remotely via our Telehealth services to guide you through the process week by week for minimal cost.

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