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Bunions (also known as Hallux Valgus) are a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe joint. The big toe starts to drift towards the second toe, which causes the long bone of the big toe to shift (move out of alignment) and displace at the joint, which results in the prominence of the lump at the inside of the foot.
Bunions are a progressive deformity, meaning they generally get worse over time. They can often cause pain, inflammation, and difficulty with finding footwear to fit the bump. Because the big toe starts to drift towards the 2nd toe, often the 2nd toe also becomes impacted, which can lead to a hammertoe deformity, corns and even dislocation of the 2nd toe.
Bunions tend to be present more commonly in women, and often there is a family history, which suggests there may be a genetic predisposition to bunions. Bunions can even develop in young children (Known as Juvenile Bunions)
Bunions tend to progressively worsen over time, meaning they get larger and often the joint can become damaged and arthritic. It is important to try and reduce some of the risk factors associated with bunion development to try and slow the progression of the deformity down.