Hallux valgus (Bunion)

We will improve the shape of your foot

The little bulge on the inside of your foot is getting bigger, like a ball. It is as if another bone is growing there. At the same time, your big toe is becoming more and more crooked. Hallux valgus is a visible displacement of the big toe. It could better be described as a crooked toe. It doesn’t just have visible symptoms – it also causes increasing foot pain.

Our specialists at Schoen Clinic can relieve acute pain through inserts or splints. We can also permanently correct the displacement through surgical treatment.

Causes & symptoms

What is Hallux valgus?

Hallux valgus (bunion) is a disorder of the foot skeleton, where the big toe is no longer in its natural position. It angles itself towards the other toes and often displaces them. Sometimes, the toes even shift above or below one another.

This crookedness causes the ball region of your instep to bulge. A considerable bulge can be seen and felt. Hallux valgus also alters the weight distribution across your entire foot and causes you to roll your foot while walking. This often involves a lot of foot pain.

Causes: how does Hallux valgus occur?

Often, bunion develops due to a combination of different factors. Hallux valgus is sometimes inherited. If you have a known predisposition, years of wearing narrow, pointed shoes can be particularly unhelpful. Your foot muscles also cannot work correctly in high heels, and they lose strength and elasticity. This can cause toes to become displaced. Furthermore, studies have shown that even wearing socks for years presses toes together and changes the natural shape of your foot. Compression stockings are especially problematic.

Disorders that weaken connective tissue also increase the risk of Hallux-valgus, as your foot can quickly and easily become deformed. Because women naturally have weaker connective tissue, they’re also more likely to suffer from this disorder.

Symptoms: how do you identify Hallux valgus?

In the early stages, the crooked toe will cause you hardly any discomfort. The small protruding head of the metatarsal bone on the inside of the foot will start to bother you. Your foot may no longer fit into tall, narrow women’s shoes. Your bunion will be thickened. This is why Hallux valgus is also called “bunion”.

In the advanced stages, foot pain will occur. This will generally start in the region where the head of your metatarsal bone on the inside of your foot appears as a bulge. The greatly enlarged ball will press painfully against your shoe with every step. Your skin and the bursa underneath will permanently be irritated. Inflammation and swelling will occur. Because you’ll no longer be putting strain on your foot and the affected points will continue to press against the shoe, this can develop into a recurring and highly painful condition.

The toe joint of your big toe will also be adversely affected. Due to the changed position of your toe bones, your joint movements will change as well. The joint will then be worn down faster (arthritis) and will have less and less mobility. If your arthritis is already advanced, your foot will be most painful when you roll it while walking.

But it’s not the pain in the big toe that often gets patients to visit their doctor. The crooked big toe pressing against the second toe is sometimes the biggest source of pain.


Diagnosis: how displacement in the foot is determined

In most cases, you can identify Hallux valgus yourself before any foot pain even occurs. Your toes are turned inwards and the ball of your big toe is often painful, which causes problems when walking, standing or putting on shoes. Using X-ray images taken while standing under your full body weight, our specialists at Schoen Clinic can create an accurate clinical picture of your bone displacement.