Bunions (Hallux Valgus)


Often referred to as a bunion, hallux valgus is a deformity at the major joint of the big toe, otherwise known as the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint.  This condition comes about when the end of the big toe angles towards the smaller toes.  Such an abnormal angle causes the joint to enlarge.  This enlargement (the bunion) can be red and swollen, is often painful and may stiffen over time.


The most common symptoms associated with bunions include:

  • Pain at the 1st toe joint.
  • Pain under the 2nd toe joint
  • Stiffness of the first toe joint in more advanced cases
  • Inflammation of the first toe join

The most common causes of bunions include:

  • Improperly fitting footwear such as high heeled and pointy toed shoes.
  • Genetic anatomical abnormalities like Morton’s Syndrome and metatarsus varus.
  • Overpronation (inward rolling of the foot)

Orthotics (Orthoses) – Must be prescribed by a physician

Note that following bunion surgery, orthoses may be required to help prevent reoccurrence.

Custom made orthoses support the skeleton, muscles and fascia in the correct position. Orthoses are a long-term solution to prevent reoccurrence by controlling and / or correcting the mechanics that cause the problem.

Orthotics for bunions may include:

  • Medial longitudinal arch support which helps to position the weight of the inside arch / bunion onto the center of the foot.
  • A built in angulation for more advanced cases
  • Forefoot cushioning materials.
  • Hollowing out orthotic material under sensitive forefoot joints.


Stability footwear including therapeutic and orthopaedic shoes are integral to the treatment process. Certified Pedorthists are trained to fit patients with appropriate footwear. BioPed offers many types of footwear into which an orthotic device may be placed or worn alone.

Footwear for bunions may have the following characteristics:

  • Dress shoes available with lower heels and wider widths.
  • Built with a wide stable sole base that provides medial stability – often referred to as Motion Control Footwear and available in athletic shoes, walking shoes, sandals and boots.
  • Proper width and depth to adequately accommodate the bunion.
  • Forefoot rocker sole – a must for chronic forefoot conditions. Off-the-shelf therapeutic footwear with a rocker can minimize the metatarsal joint bending and plantar pressure.
  • Material which can be custom stretched by the Pedorthist to accommodate the surrounding bunion.

Modifications to footwear are also available at the discretion of the Pedorthist.