A bunion is a painful lump at the base of the big toe. Over time, it causes the tip of the big toe to turn toward the other toes. It may also overlap the second or third toe.

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The exact cause is not known. Genes may play a role.

Risk Factors

Bunions are more common in women and older adults. They are also more common in people who have family members with bunions. Other things that may raise your risk are:

  • Personal or family history of foot deformities
  • Flat feet that put too much weight on the big toe joint
  • Inflammatory joint problems, such as psoriatic arthritis and gout



Bunions may cause:

  • Pain in the big toe and second toe
  • Problems moving the big toe
  • Redness and swelling
  • A firm lump on the inside edge of the foot at the base of the big toe


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A foot exam will be done. It is diagnosed based on this information.



The doctor will talk about treatment choices. They may be:

Supportive Care

It is important to ease pressure on the bunion. This may be done with:

  • Padding
  • Shoes that are wide and deep
  • Shoe inserts


Prescription or over-the-counter medicines may be given to ease pain.


Surgery may be done if other treatments have not helped. It can remove the bony lump. The joint may also be realigned.


There are no methods to lower the risk of getting a bunion.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (Hallux Valgus)


American Podiatric Medical Association http://www.apma.org 

OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org 


Ontario Podiatric Medical Association http://www.opma.ca 

Health Canada https://www.canada.ca 


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Bunion surgery. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00140. Updated February 2016. Accessed March 25, 2020.

Easley ME, Trnka HJ. Current concepts review: hallux valgus part II: operative treatment. Foot Ankle Int. 2007 Jun;28(6):748-758.

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