Hallux valgus (commonly referred to as a “bunion”) is a condition that affects the big toe at the joint at the base of the toe. This condition occurs when the big toe is forced inward toward the second and third toes causing a bump to form at the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. The function of this joint is important as it is the joint that is required to bend every time we take a step. As the joint weakens or stiffens, walking and standing can become painful. Over time, the toe can become deformed and begin to overlap the second or third toes.
When consistent pressure is applied to the toe over a long period of time the tissue underneath the toe at the joint rubs together and grows thicker. This tissue may also become trapped between the joints of the toe and become irritated and is the source of the pain in the toe. This pressure is often a result of shoes that are too tight, poorly fitting or high heels.
Signs and symptoms of a Bunion or Hallux Valgus may include:
- Outside base of the big toe develops bump that bulges
- Movement of the big toe is limited
- Development of corns or calluses – especially between the first and second toes
- Joint of the big toe develops soreness, redness and/or swelling
- Pain when walking
- Sensitivity to touch