Bunion Consultant - what are the latest treatments and expert advice?

What are bunions?

Photo and x-ray of a bunion on the left foot


Bunion Expert, Guy's & St Thomas's Foot Surgeon, Mr Sam Singh says, "I always advise my patients to wear soft lace-up leather shoes or trainers for commuting to work".

Hallux Valgus

This well known deformity, bunions (the medical term is Hallux Valgus) are just an overgrowth of new bone and soft tissue. The actual prominence of this bump arises from the head of the metatarsal bone of the big toe drifting inwards towards the smaller toes. When the foot is squeezed into a shoe there is then an increased outward directed pressure on the big toe that compounds the problem. Initially, the toe corrects itself when the shoe is removed but with time the deformity becomes stuck down and fixed. In addition, the other bones of the big toe push the metatarsal head more into the middle, worsening the deformity. However, only half the cases of bunions are related to poor footwear, as many patients also have a positive family history for bunions.

What simple non-surgical methods can we use to treat bunions? 

Appropriate shoe wear is really the key treating bunions without surgery. I always advise patients to wear soft lace-up leather shoes or trainers for commuting to work. A shoe with a strap or laces means that you are less dependent on curling your toes (the site of the pain!) to keep the shoe on. Keep a pair of formal shoes under your desk for meetings. Heels greater than one inch are best avoided as the foot tends to slide down the shoe squashing the
toes into the toe box of the shoe. Silicone spacers or bunion cushions may help 
but can widen the foot further, making shoe wear more difficult.

When would surgery be appropriate for bunions?

If you have tried the above measures but your foot still hurts on a fairly regular basis or if you start to develop

If surgery is required and you would to know more, please see full article here

A thickened pad of tissue or a fluid-filled sac (bursa) lying over a deformed big toe. It is caused by an abnormal outward projection of the big toe. Full medical glossary
One of five long, cylindrical bones of the foot. They are held in an arch by surrounding ligaments. Full medical glossary
A pale yellow or green,creamy fluid found at the site of bacterial infection. Full medical glossary
A group of cells with a similar structure and a specialised function. Full medical glossary