Bunions are enlargements of the joints in the outer toes. As the ball of the foot spreads and breaks down, the little toe and the big toe turn towards each other. The big toe joint protrudes, and a hallux valgus (big toe turning and bending) bunion deformity occurs. Tailors’ bunions are an enlargement of the outer (5th) metatarsal joint at the base of the baby toe.  Women are more likely to develop (and treat) bunions; this may be because of narrow shoes and a more proactive approach to foot health.  

Tight shoes put pressure on the metatarsophalangeal joints (MTP), which is where the metatarsal bone of the foot meets the phalanx bones of the outer toes. Having a family history of bunions is also a risk factor. Additionally, rheumatoid arthritis may increase the likelihood of developing a certain type of arthritic bunion and ball of foot bone spurs.  A third type of bunion is a Hallux Limitus, dorsal bunion of the big toe joint.  This deformity is typically from an impact injury, or chronic misalignment of the metatarsal and the big toe phalanx bones. Bone spurs form on the top of the joint, and the big toe becomes quite stiff.