The clinical term used to describe a bunion is Hallux Valgus. This is when the big toe (the hallux) changes position and has move towards the 2nd – 5th toes. As the big toe moves the joint of the big toe (the 1st metatarsal phanageal joint) changes in position, resulting in a bony prominence on the side of the big toe joint.

Small bunion

Bunions can be present since birth and remain unchanged, or develop over the course of time with increased load applied through the feet. Foot posture will have a significant affect on the development of a bunion – such as over foot pronation (flat feet, pes planus or low arches) or a supinated foot (pes cavus or high arches).

As the arch of the over pronated foot (flat feet or pes planus) lowers closer to the ground and the heel has tilted inwards. A force from the ground called the Ground reaction Force (GRF), will push against the bones of the foot to resist the inwards tilting movement of the foot. This GRF will act through the big toe joint and the bunion develops.

The change in position of the 1st MTJP can be seen on x-ray and it is important we work to prevent increase of the 1st MTPJ angle changes.

Foot Orthotics are an important requirement to improve foot posture and protect the bunion. In addition The Foot and Leg Clinic can provide a specific foot mobilisation treatment technique to reverse some of the changes found on x-ray.