Bunions: 4 Tips To Prevent Them

Blog Health News 29th May 2024 Enquiries & appointments
Person walking along the beach bare feet

Bunions, also known as hallux valgus, are a painful lump of bone on the outside of the big toe caused by a deformity of the big toe.

The lump is the head of the first metatarsal bone moving outwards and the big toe moves outwards in the direction of the second toe. Bunions cause pain due to rubbing on the inner aspect of shoewear. The skin over bunions gets thick (callus) and often red and sore especially at the end of the day.

What causes a bunion?

There is not one specific reason why a bunion develops, but is thought to be a combination of factors including prolonged pressure put on the feet, family history, or abnormal bone structure.

Tips to prevent bunions

1. Keep an eye on the shape of your feet; if you see changes see a doctor to find out if there are any recommendations to prevent hallux valgus from forming

2. Strengthen your feet by exercising them

3. Wear shoes that fit your feet well and offer good support

4. For women, they should try to avoid shoes that have a heel or pointed toe (sorry stilettos!).


In the early stages, a bunion may be completely pain free and not very visible. Over time the bunion may become bigger and noticeable. Some shoes, especially tighter fitting shoe, may rub on the prominence of the bunion producing symptoms such as:

  • Bulging lump on the outside of the big toe
  • Swelling and soreness around the big toe
  • Ongoing pain
  • Limited movement of the big toe
  • Difficulty finding shoes that are comfortable and that fit around the lump

Conservative treatments for bunions

Many patients with bunions can manage their symptoms without the need for surgical correction. There are a number of methods that can be helpful. Changing footwear is key i.e. wearing shoes that are wide around the toes and have a low heel can help to alleviate the symptoms. Physiotherapy and strengthening of the small muscles within the foot can help with symptoms of foot pain in general.

Surgical correction

Hallux valgus correction is an operation that corrects the bunion deformity. This surgery is only necessary if nonsurgical methods have not worked to relieve the pain.

Blog created by Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon (Foot & Ankle), Mr Sajid Shariff



Media & Press Enquiries

Madeleine Greenhalgh Senior Marketing & Communications Manager 01622 237663