The medical term for bunions is called ‘Hallux Abducto Valgus". In plain terms, the distal end of the 1st metatarsal deviates to the medial foot, while the distal aspect of the big toe, or hallux, deviates laterally, forming a bump at the 1st MTPJ. The bump is medial at the 1st MTPJ in a bunion, while it is dorsal in a hallux rigidus or limitus case. Causes include tight shoe gear and a pes planus valgus foot type.
An X-ray is necessary to diagnose and classify the bunion. A bunion may be classified as mild, moderate or severe based on specific parameters your physician will discuss with you. Conservative treatments include wider shoe gear, or custom orthotics. However, since it is an osseous deformity, the deformity progresses with time and surgery is the only option to ‘correct’ it. Many patients do well with conservative treatment, but those who do not have any surgical options available to them that the physician will discuss to suit them.