Bunions (hallux valgus)

More than half the women in America have bunions.  Bunions cause the base of your big toe to enlarge and protrude. The skin over it may be red and tender.  Pressure from your big toe may force your second toe out of alignment, sometimes overlapping your third toe.  If your bunion gets too severe, it may be difficult to walk, and the skin on the bottom of your foot may become thicker and painful.  Your pain may become chronic and you may develop arthritis. Bunions tend to be hereditary, but can be aggravated by shoes that are too narrow in the forefoot and toe.

Most bunions can be treated without surgery by wearing protective pads to cushion the painful area, and avoiding ill-fitting shoes.

Bunion surgery, or bunionectomy, realigns the bone, ligaments, tendons and nerves so your big toe can be brought back to its correct position. Many bunion surgeries are performed on a same-day basis using an ankle-block anesthesia. A long recovery is common and may include persistent swelling and stiffness.