Bunions of the big toe are medically known as hallux abducto valgus (HAV) and refer to the deviation of the big toe across the foot whilst exposing the big toe joint to pressure as it becomes more prominent.

What causes bunions (HAV)?

There are a multitude of factors ranging from activity, lifestyle, occupation and footwear which will all contribute to an increase in pressure and force from the side of the big toe (medially). However the most significant factors are a family history, which will determine things like footshape and foot mechanics e.g. a foot is that excessively flattening or pronating, or foot that is very wide at the forepart.

What treatment is there for bunions (HAV)?

When we assess HAV, we take into account the person’s lifestyle, and the level of discomfort. If there is no discomfort and the person’s activities are not affected, then there is little cause for immediate concern.

However, a podiatrist may recommend preventative measures to slow down further progression such as by controlling poor foot mechanics through insoles and footwear when active.

For more severe cases where there is pain or a limited range of motion at the big toe joint (MTPJ), looking at the biomechanical causes and treating them through specially adapted insoles or orthotics would be the best conservative management.

For patients who want to know more about surgical solutions, this can also be assessed and given and the relative merits explained.