A large percentage of the population develops bunions, usually women, but also men. A bunion is a swelling or enlargement of the large toe joint on the inner side of the foot. The deformity usually develops gradually but continuously, which will cause pain from shoes rubbing against the enlarged bone. There may be swelling, redness, and deep aching pain associated with the bunion joint, causing a bursitis.

Bunions develop from a weakness in the bone structure of the foot. Because of the instability of the bones and ligaments, which form the various joints and arches in the foot, the joints have a tendency to move out of proper alignment. Therefore, the development of the bunion deformities can sometimes be seen even in young children, but usually are found in adults. Bunions are not caused by improper footgear, but can be significantly aggravated by improperly fitting shoes, which place an unusual degree of pressure on the bunion joint. As a bunion becomes more severe, the joint moves out of proper alignment, and if left untreated, arthritis will eventually damage the joint space. This causes the large toe to move sideways towards the second toe, and the foot to widen across the metatarsal area.

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