5 Common Misunderstandings about Bunions

5 Common Misunderstandings about Bunions


The foot problem that people tend to be embarrassed about: Bunions. They are more common than you think, and you do not have to be shy about it.

Understanding this condition will definitely allow you to control the fate of your bunion!



1. Bunion is an extra bone?

Often described as a bump on the side of the big toe, bunions, are also known as Hallux Valgus or Hallux abducto valgus amongst medical professionals. A bunion is a misalignment of the bones. It happens when the hallux (the big toe) leans towards the second toe instead of pointing forward, causing a bulge to form. This malformation is actually the head of the metatarsal bone protruding.


Bunions are progressive have 4 stages of development. They usually begin as a mild protrusion at the joint, and becomes increasingly prominent over the years as the bones gradually change their angle. In more severe cases, the second toe can even overlap the big toe.





2. My shoes caused my bunion to form?


Bad shoes are not the root cause although using pointed shoes and/or heels may worsen any existing deformity. Most people with bunions have a strong family history of bunions for several generations. One can inherit a foot type/ genetic factors/walking pattern that impact how the foot functions during walking. This can actually make them more susceptible to developing a bunion.



Mother and son having only left bunions. Genetics at play!




3. Only old people have bunions?

Unfortunately, people of all age groups can develop bunions. Bunions can develop much earlier in life, and may become quite pronounced by the teenage years. This is what we call Juvenile HAV. Many people do not seek treatment for their bunions until the joint becomes stiff, and arthritic and cause problems with mobility. By then, surgery may be the only effective option of treatment. So, if you notice a bunion in your child or even in your youth, it is wise to see a podiatrist for an assessment to control or stop the progression.


Young child with bunions

Young child with bunions

Older woman with bunion

Older woman with bunion



4. Only women get bunions, right?

Sorry to disappoint our gentlemen out there. You can get them too. Though bunions may be more prevalent among women and the elderly, a proportion of men also suffer from bunions. Men generally have less pain and problems because men’s footwear are more accommodating and comfortable. It is easier for men to find shoes with the appropriate features without sacrificing style, whilst women tend to be too caught up with fashion and wear narrow toebox shoes or high heel shoes; shoes providing less support and cushioning, and may exacerbate one’s bunion issues.



Young male with bunions



5. People with bunions have to go through surgery?



Surgery can be an effective option in correcting a serious bunion if proper screening is done to confirm that you are a good surgical candidate. Otherwise, depending on the severity of the bunion, conservative prevention may be the best approach to combat this deformity.

Early treatments are aimed at preventing the bunion from becoming worse and preventing pain. These involve footwear changes, use of general and customised foot orthoses and prescription of specific foot and lower limb exercises. One important thing to note is that these treatments provided by a podiatrist/physiotherapist will not reverse the changes that have already occurred. Only surgery will be able to ‘straighten the toe’ again.



The fate of your bunion lies in your hands! Talk to our friendly podiatrists here at The Sole Clinic today if you have any queries!