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What are bunions?

A bunion or hallux valgus is a bony lump that appears at the bottom of the big toe, causing the toe to bend inwards. This lump is created by the effect of the metatarsal bone, the protruding bone, rubbing against the shoe.

Its Latin name, hallux valgus, derives from ‘hallux’ for ‘big toe’ and ‘valgus’ which translates as ‘pointing outwards’. Another variant, affecting the small toe, is known as the Tailor’s bunion.

What causes bunions?

Bunions are more liable to occur if:

  • Your shoes don’t fit properly
  • Your joints are more flexible than average
  • A history of the issue in your family exists
  • Your feet are flat
  • You suffer from gout or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Other health conditions exist, notably cerebral palsy or polio


Tailor’s Bunion

A lump that appears at the base of the little toe, on the fifth metatarsal bone, is known as a Tailor’s bunion, or bunionette. It’s similar to a bunion on the big toe but occurs less frequently.

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