Managing bunions with Podiatric care

Bunions, also known as “hallux valgus”, affects millions globally. They are a common foot deformity characterised by a bulge or swelling near the base of the big toe.

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Bunions, resembling bulging bumps near the big toe, are a common foot deformity affecting millions - from children to adults. They cause misalignment in the joint, thus causing pain, discomfort, and difficulty with various footwear. While genetics play a huge role, other factors like tight shoes and having certain foot types can also contribute to developing bunions. Thankfully, with various care and management options, from conservative measures to surgery, they can offer relief and restore optimal foot health.

Types of bunions

  • Congenital bunions
  • Juvenile bunions
  • Tailor's bunions

What causes bunions?

Bunions are caused by a variety of factors which include:

  • Genetic Heredity
  • Trauma
  • Arthritis
  • Wearing pointed shoes or shoes with a narrow toebox
  • Standing and walking for long hours

How can a podiatrist help patients with Bunions?

Podiatrists will aim for conservative options especially when it comes to early stages of bunions and when there are no structural deformities or bony deformities involved.

As experts in the anatomy of the lower extremities, podiatrists offer non-surgical options that are personalised to your needs. These modalities can include:

  • A thorough assessment of joint functions
  • Footwear changes and recommendations
  • Customised foot orthotics that are designed to help realign the joint and correct the foot function, reducing long-term damage and pain
  • Medical technologies, such as the Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) delivers focused shockwaves to the bunion area, targeting calcifications and potentially reducing synovial fluid inflammation. It has an analgesic effect, offering pain relief and potentially improving joint function.

Bunions can be managed non-surgically in Singapore by a podiatrist. This involves using extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), a non-invasive procedure, in conjunction with custom-made orthotic insoles to realign the joint. Unlike traditional surgery, this method addresses the underlying biomechanical issues that cause bunions and can help to prevent them from recurring. Orthotic insoles are often necessary to keep the foot in an optimal position, which facilitates recovery and prevents recurrence.

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Common Symptoms

Pain in and around the big toe
Corns at the peak of pressure
Restricted movement

How It Looks Like

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Related Conditions


Why is my big toe changing shape?

This bony growth at the base of your big toe is known as a bunion. Bunions occur when the bones in that area shift out of place. When this happens, your big toe is pushed towards the other toes while the joint at the base shifts outwards instead.

What causes bunions?

While many people in Singapore believe that bunions are caused by wearing shoes, such as high heels, current research leans towards the genetics as being the largest risk factor for developing bunions. Those with certain foot types or conditions, along with those in occupations that require long periods of standing or walking, are at greater risks of developing bunions.

Do bunions go away on their own?

One of the common questions we get in clinic is if the bunion will go away on its own. Bunions do not disappear or revert to their original shape without outside intervention, and are likely to worsen over time.

Do I need to see a podiatrist if my bunion doesn’t hurt?

As bunions do not go away on their own, neglecting a bunion allows it to worsen. Left unresolved, a bunion can often develop to the point where the big toe totally overlaps the second toe. At this point, surgery is the only possible option. Early intervention is critical to avoid such developments.

How can we manage bunions?

Conservative bunion care focuses on two aspects, prevention and maintenance. As bunions are likely to worsen over time, the goal is to maintain the situation and prevent it from worsening. If the bunion is extremely severe, you may be advised to undergo surgery instead.

Do I need surgery for bunions?

As the deformity can be highly intrusive or obvious, some patients may choose to have them removed for aesthetic purposes. The typical recommendation is that surgery should not be the first option unless the patient is experiencing severe pain or if the deformity continues to progress despite conservative care.

Will changing my shoes help my bunions?

If you frequently wear tight-fitting or poor-fitting footwear, changing your shoes could potentially help prevent the development of a bunion. However, if the bunion has already started to occur, it is more likely to slowly worsen over time despite changing to appropriate footwear.

Have a question?

There help my bunion, now I don’t feel pain and can walk well. Their staffs all very helpful and in the few visit, I have been WhatsApps them many time. They’re very kind to answer all my questions. Thank you to Ms Milicent Brown, Sharon and the staffs.

Jackqueline Ang

Our Podiatry Care Strategy

100% non-invasive methods to improve your ankle in 4-8 weeks

An ankle specialist, such as a podiatrist, will be able to perform a thorough foot assessment using diagnostic tools, such as a musculoskeletal diagnostic ultrasound to determine the source of your ankle pain. If surgery is required, your podiatrist will refer you to a trusted foot and ankle doctor for surgical solutions.

A thorough assessment of your ankle

Immobilising the area with splints

Utilising technological therapies

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