Bunion (Hallux Valgus)

What is hallux valgus?

Hallux valgus, or bunion on the foot, is an abnormal deviation of the big toe toward the second toe, or outward. The bone called “first metatarsal” moves away from the big toe, inwardly of the foot, and the joint between the metatarsal and the first phalanx of the big toe forms a bump on the inner edge of the front. foot. In its advanced stage, hallux valgus is often painful. Hallux valgus affects women more than men.

What causes hallux valgus?

The factors that can promote the appearance of a hallux valgus are:

  • genetic, hereditary factors;
  • have a wide forefoot and a long big toe (“Egyptian” feet);
  • wearing shoes with high heels, pointed toes or too narrow;
  • age (between 40 and 50 years old);
  • menopause or pregnancy which leads to the relaxation of fibrous structures thus promoting the enlargement of the forefoot;
  • have flat or hollow feet;
  • ligament hyperlaxity (hypersouples ligaments);
  • neuromuscular disease, rheumatic an abnormality of collagen.

What are the symptoms of hallux valgus?

At the start of its onset, hallux valgus is not painful. Over time, the subject will experience pain when walking and later complications will appear. That’s why it’s important to watch your foot carefully for any abnormalities. How is hallux valgus manifested?

Its symptoms are:

  • Visible deformity of the big toe;
  • Pain on the inner edge of the foot, especially at night;
  • Pain accentuated by walking: the bunion rubs in the shoe and calluses appear;
  • Inflammation of the big toe joint and bursitis;
  • Infection in the rubbing area;
  • Deformation of other toes (claw toes, calluses, corns);
  • Difficulty fitting;
  • Development of osteoarthritis.

How does hallux valgus develop?

Untreated, the hallux valgus progresses to worsening the deformity and the big toe moves more and more towards the second toe. The result is a shift in the support of the weight carried by the foot towards the other toes, which in turn deform and fold up “into claws”. This process could be responsible for osteoarthritis of the joints of the foot. Inflammation and then infections can spread to the metatarsophalangeal joint and turn into arthritis, especially in fragile subjects such as diabetics.

What to do if you have the symptoms of hallux valgus?

  • Choose shoes that are comfortable, flexible, with a round toe and wide in the forefoot to avoid the bunion rubbing against the shoe;
  • Wear small heels;
  • Lose weight if you are overweight to lighten the weight carried by your feet;
  • Isolate the onion using a specific protective dressing;
  • Take care of your feet;
  • in case of bursitis or inflammation of the bunion (bursitis), apply an ice pack to the painful area wrapped in a tissue;
  • Consult a podiatrist.
  • To relieve the pain, use an analgesic (Tylenol) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

What is the diagnosis of hallux valgus?

Hallux valgus is easily recognized as it can be seen with the naked eye. However, an x-ray of the foot is still necessary in order to assess the degree of deviation of the toe.

How to treat hallux valgus?

Your podiatrist can prescribe:

  • orthotics to straighten the big toe;
  • stretching exercises or foot massages;
  • therapeutic shoes;
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or pain relievers.

However, these treatments do not correct hallux valgus but limit its aggravation.

Surgical treatments

When hallux valgus has reached an advanced stage, surgical treatment becomes the best option. The purpose of surgery is to correct the outward misalignment of the big toe by straightening it. It is performed on an outpatient basis or in short hospitalization, under locoregional anesthesia.

Another surgical treatment is to sever the metatarsal head.

Make an appointment 


Untreated hallux valgus can make your day-to-day life very difficult. As soon as you notice any deformation of your toe, we recommend that you contact us so that our podiatrist can treat your foot.

PodiatreMD is a network in downtown Montreal, on Rue Jean-Talon (corner Lucerne), Laval, West Island, Gatineau and Ottawa, is here to serve you. Our staff are as warm as they are competent and will know how to meet your needs.