A bunion is a condition that involves painful prominence of the great toe. It comes from a French term meaning “bump” and can describe more than one medical diagnosis that affects the great toe. Generally, it is associated with a condition named hallux valgus—hallux referring to the great toe, and valgus describing the position of the toe.
Hallux valgus is a disorder that oftentimes has a genetic component and tends to affect females to a much greater degree than males. Most agree that while tight-fitting shoe wear can worsen the symptoms of the disorder, it is not generally the cause. It presents as a painful bump over the great toe and can result in the great toe pointing at the other toes and sometimes impacting or drifting under the second toe. Another condition—hallux rigidus—also presents with pain and swelling in the great toe, but it has a different cause.
Treatment for hallux valgus generally involves appropriate fitting shoe wear with a wide toe box and avoiding heels. Materials such as leather or mesh that conform to the foot are preferable to a synthetic material that will not stretch. Surgical correction can be considered for constant pain that does not resolve with shoe wear changes. There are multiple surgical options available that often involve re-positioning the great toe.
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Our fellowship-trained and board-certified foot and ankle surgeons, Jay L. Crary, M.D., R. Wendell Pierce, M.D., C. Luke Rust, M.D., and T. Scott Woll, M.D., have the skill and expertise to treat a wide variety of foot and ankle injuries and conditions. Learn more about our foot doctors by following the button below.
If you suspect you have a bunion or similar foot problem and you’re ready to discuss the available treatment options with one of our specialty-trained foot surgeons, visit us in Vancouver at our PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, Legacy Salmon Creek, or East Vancouver locations; in Portland at our Rose Quarter location; or at our Lake Oswego location. You can request an appointment online or call us at 1-800-REBOUND.