What you need to know about bunions

Bunions are a symptom of a progressive bone disorder. They appear as a bony bump at the base of the big toe joint.

The technical term for bunions is hallux valgus. They develop because of a structural problem in the bone of the foot and toes, usually the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. As a result of this, the feet no longer line up properly.

Bunion usually affects the bone of the big toe, which inclines toward the second toe instead of straight ahead.

The big toe pushes against the neighboring toe. This causes the joint to stick out.

The symptoms of bunions often occur in adults, but adolescents might also experience them.

They might occur because of an inherent problem with the bones of the foot. Some people have hallus valgus but never develop symptoms. Shoes that crowd the toes can increase the risk of symptoms, but they do not cause bunions directly.

Bunions might also occur near the base of the little toe instead of the big toe. These are known as bunionettes or “tailor’s bunion.”

In this article, we look at the causes and symptoms of bunions, as well as potential treatments.



The classic symptom of a bunion is a bump that forms at the base of the big toe. These can also form at the base of the little toe. When this occurs, a doctor will diagnose bunionette or “tailor’s bunion”.

Other symptoms of bunions may include:

  • pain and soreness
  • numbness
  • a burning sensation
  • swelling at the joint of the affected toe
  • increased skin thickness at the base of the affected toe
  • hardened skin under the foot
  • redness
  • bump on the base of the affected toe
  • the presence of corns or calluses
  • movement restriction within the affected toe