6 Common Bunion Symptoms, Prevalence & Treatment

Symptoms caused by the foot bunion mostly ends up in limiting the regular activity of foot. It may include severe pain around the major toe and a bump on the medial aspect of a big toe joint.

It is also known as hallux valgue or tailors bunion as it is mostly found in tailors. The cause of this deformity is the bones of big toes that sometimes loses their alignment and shifts out of positions due to constant pressure. As it is caused by constant pressure on bones & ligaments of a big toe, its occurs slowly, and if not treated properly then it ends up forming a small lump on the big toe.

Today we will see the basic foot bunion symptoms and the things we can do to treat it effectively.

Common Symptoms of Bunion

Though there is a wide variety of symptoms that can be found in the foot bunion, here are six the most common bunion symptoms that almost every patient experiences.

Lump on Medial Side of Big Toe

Bony lump on the inner side of big toe joint is the most common and classic sign of bunion. This lump develops at the base of the big toe and grows slowly over the period of few weeks and is caused by altered alignments of joint bones due to constant pressure.

If left untreated, it may keep increasing in size.


Initially, pain is mild in nature, but as condition progress, pain also increases in terms of severity. Walking, standing for a long time or running may trigger pain and movements of big toes are often end up increasing the pain. Pain are usually localized around the area of base joint of the big toe of foot and in some cases, may refer to the ball of the foot. Pain can be continuous or just come and go with movements of a toe.

Altered Foot & Toe Shape

Because of increasing size of bony lump at the base of joint, toe starts to move laterally towards the rest of toes of the foot. In severe cases, shifting of big toe towards the next lateral toe; may end up causing cross over or under this toe. This unique position of the big toe is called as hallux abducto valgus and the size of a foot may start to widen.


As bunion grow, redness may start to appear because of friction of skin against the wall of the shoe.

Redness is one of the early signs of inflammation in our body, and during the development of bunion, one may notice it in initial stages even before lump grows up.

Stiffness of Big Toe

Stiffness in joints of the big toe is a common symptom of a bunion. The patient may not be able to move the big toe quickly, and movements are restricted to the great extent, especially while walking. When we walk, we push up our foot through the joint of big toes and this become difficult & painful in case of a bunion. It has been observed that in some cases this stiffness may lead to arthritis of joint.

Hardening of Skin

Sometimes skin over the bunion may start to become thick and harden to form a callus. It usually resulted in friction of skin over the bunion with edges of the shoe. Once the friction starts, skin tries to protect itself and underlying tissues by hardening & forming a callus. Though callus seems like a pathological growth, most of the time it is painless & can be treated easily using callus remover tools or gel.


It is found that women are more prone to get affected by bunion than men. The reason is obvious – using high heels make them prone to multiple foot stress. Usually, high heels comes with narrow space that put extra pressure on foot bones as well as extra height of heel creates lot of stress at foot and knee joints.

Aging can also play a role in causing bunion as people above age of 65 are more prone to get symptoms of bunions.


Bunion symptoms can be reduced by taking right treatment. Simple lifestyle change like replacing your narrow footwear with wider and comfortable footwear can bring the drastic change in symptoms of a bunion.

Pain will reduce immediately, and progress of bunion will halt to some extent. One can also use the specifically designed pads & splints for bunion sufferers.

But, if using comfortable shoes, splints (like toe separators) and taking rest do not help, then you need to visit a surgeon to see if you need surgery or not.


Featured Image – Photo from Flickr courtesy of Badly Drawn Dad

Dr. Sachin

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 4 comments
Lillian Schaeffer - February 28, 2017

I like how you mentioned that bunion pain is mild at first, but then worsens. I’ve been having a little bit of foot pain, but it’s slowly been getting worse and worse, and now it’s so bad that walking is difficult for me. It sounds like it could be a bunion, so maybe it would be a good idea to visit a professional and figure out how best to treat it.

John Mahoney - May 5, 2017

I appreciate you talking about how pain on big toes when moving can be a sign that you are dealing with bunions. It is important to remember that asking a professional can help you determine the health of your feet and how to treat them properly. As I understand it, consulting with your insurance company can help you find a doctor that is within their network and who can help you manage the pain on your feet.

Elsa - September 17, 2017

I have recently felt a lot of numbness in my big toes, and some sensitivity when I walk. I’m guessing it’s due to bunions. I should go to my foot doctor and have her take a look so I can get this resolved quickly. I really appreciate your tips on what to look for! I have 5 out of the 6 symptoms, so I’m guessing I should get that looked at. Thanks for your informative post!

Deb Pearl - November 14, 2017

I didn’t know that a bunion was a bony lump on the inner side of the big toe joint! My mom said her feet have been hurting her for a while and we did notice a small lump on her foot. Good to know that if we leave it untreated that it could keep increasing in size! We will have to get it checked out and see if it is a bunion! Thank you for the information!


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