Foot bunions occur when the big toe bone deviates towards the 2nd toe and the metatarsal bone behind the big toe moves away from the rest of the foot.The big toe joint then becomes prominent and dislocates which can make it difficult to walk or wear shoes with comfort.

What Is A Bunion?

A bunion is a bony lump that forms on the side of your Metatarsophalangeal joint (big toe joint) when factors cause your big toe to move out of alignment towards your 2nd toe. It is the most common forefoot condition with up to 35% of the population over the age of 65 having some stage of bunion development.

What Does A Bunion Feel Like?

Your experience of bunions will be different from every other person. What we know from pain research is that your pain will vary during our treatments together and that this is a normal part of your healing journey.

Bunions can be symptomatic (painful) or asymptomatic (not painful) depending on the severity of the bunions and other contributing factors.

With symptomatic bunions you will usually feel:

  • Pain along the side of the 1st MTPJ (big toe joint) where the bunion developed which may be red or swollen.
  • Pain may be exacerbated by tight fitting shoes.
  • Pain along the toes 2-5 in the affected foot caused by overloading due to poor function of the big toes.

What Causes Bunions?

There are many factors which contribute to the development of a bunion. These include:

  • Hereditary Factors
  • Muscle imbalance: tight muscles and weakened muscles surrounding the big toe joint
  • Rolling in of the foot and ankle loading and jamming big toe joint

    Systemic conditions such as

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Footwear: tight toe box
causes a

How Do We Manage Bunions?

At Leading Edge Podiatry, we manage bunions conservatively by:

Your footwear will need to be reviewed to determine if they are wide enough at the forefoot So that the shoe doesn’t put excess pressure on the bunion. Your footwear also needs to provide enough stability, support and cushioning for your foot to reduce load on your big toe joint.
Strength and Conditioning Review

When your big toe starts to shift out of alignment it causes some muscles surrounding your big to toe joint to become tighter and weaker. These weakened muscles require specific exercises to help strengthen them to help slow down the progression of the bunion joint to become tighter and weaker.

These weakened muscles require specific exercises to help strengthen them to help slow down the progression of the bunion.

Orthoses act by changing the loading in your body by altering the magnitude and direction of the force that is generated when your foot contacts the ground.

Orthoses when prescribed correctly work by moving load away from painful areas and improving joint function.

If you have biomechanical factors which are contributing to the bunion development, orthoses will help to reduce the pain and load in your big toe joint.


Certain paddings provided by your Podiatrist may be helpful at offloading your big toe joint.

If these conservative measures are unsuccessful in reducing your pain, then a surgical opinion will be required. However, even if surgery is required you will still need to put into place a rehabilitation program with your Podiatrist to prevent your bunion from recurring.

For help with bunions, call us on 08 7120 6063 or book online with our experienced team at Leading Edge Podiatry.

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