What are bunions? Bunions (also known as “Hallux Valgus”) refer to an enlargement of the inside of the big toe joint, with deviation of the big toe towards the second. Patients with bunions often have a posbunionitive family history. It is common for patients to have a first-degree relative who has had a bunion, flatfoot deformity, or significant clawing of their lesser toes. This is may be the biggest risk factor for developing a significant bunion deformity.

Will they get worse? Unfortunately, there is no way of predicting how much a bunion will develop. Some people may develop very small and painful bunions whilst others may have very large, pain free bunions. Treatment is guided by pain rather than cosmetic appearance

Treatment: The vast majority of bunions can be managed successfully with basic non-operative treatment. Surgery is reserved for patients who have persistent symptoms in spite of appropriate non- operative treatment.


Various treatments have been cited as being beneficial for bunions including Foot Mobilisation Techniques (FMT), splints, foot orthoses, padding and toe spacers. These treatments may not improve the appearance of the deformity but may provide symptom relief. We will advise you on the most suitable treatments for your condition. We will often prescribe functional foot orthoses, give advice on appropriate footwear and lacing techniques to accommodate the deformity. It is likely in most cases that you will also receive advice regarding an exercise program to help strengthen the small muscles of your foot.

Operative Treatment

Surgery should only be considered for bunions that are painful, NOT for correction of the cosmetic appearance! The primary indication for operative intervention should be pain that is not relieved by appropriate non-operative management. Although symptom-free bunions can slowly increase in size over time surgical treatment is NOT recommended unless significant pain symptoms develop. At podiatry clinics we have a sound knowledge of available surgical techniques and sound working relationships with all local foot surgeons. So if the need arises we can direct you to the most appropriate specialist.