What is a Bunion?

Bunions (Hallux Abductovalgus)

A bunion is a bony growth that occurs on the side of the big toe joint.  When joints don’t function the way they should, the body can deposit calcium over the joint to protect it.  

When the foot continues to function incorrectly, the bunion may get bigger.

3 Main Causes of Why Bunions form:

  • Genetics 
  • Footwear 
  • Function 

GENETICS is when your Mum, Dad or Grandparents had bunions and you got them too!  This is because your foot shape is the same as one of your family and therefore you are likely to walk the same way as they do.   

FOOTWEAR can help prevent bunions from getting worse.  Choose shoes that have:

1. No more than 1 inch heel

2. Wide forefoot (toe box). No pointed toes.

3. Laces, so you can help control and support foot movement

Running shoes are best, however there are many casual shoes now that are low profile and are very roomy in the front of the shoe, which won’t squash your toes together.

The FUNCTION of your foot can also cause bunions.  If you have flat feet, or your ankles are weak and rolling in,  then your gait will force your body weight over the big toe joint the wrong way – and your bunion is likely to grow bigger.

Foot exercises to strengthen your arch is always prescribed at the clinic, as we must make our feet strong to cope with standing, climbing and walking.

Changing your shoes helps prevent excess pressure on your toes, however if your foot, ankle, knee or hip alignment is out, then custom prescription orthotics are essential to straighten your foot and is highly recommended for those with bunions.

If your knees point inwards (together), then this can place excess pressure on your hips.  It can also make your foot roll inwards, creating more force through the big toe joint when you ‘toe off’ in gait. This alignment issue make your bunion grow bigger and the joints are not functional at their optimum.

Don’t worry! We will sort out the causes and any imbalances as we are experts at this!

Treatment Options


STRAPPING is one of the treatments that we use at Stepping Out Podiatry to relieve your bunion pain by taking excess pressure away from the big toe joint.  This can be beneficial in providing better function of the joint which reduces the inflammation and pain.

See our strapping video below.

Orthotic Therapy

ORTHOTIC THERAPY is a recommended part of the treatment pathway if your bunion is caused by a structural reason (collapsed arches, foot rolling in too much).  This means that if the way your foot is moving that is causing excess pressure on your bunion, then support is needed.


In some cases your Bunion may be too advanced to respond to conservative treatment. If this is the case our Podiatrists may suggest a review with a surgeon.

Help Straighten Your Bunion


Try this simple exercise at home to help strengthen the muscles in your foot to assist in straightening your bunion.

Click here to watch us demonstrate the exercise