A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. A bunion forms when your big toe pushes against your next toe, forcing the joint of your big toe to get bigger and stick out. The skin over the bunion might be red and sore.

Wearing tight, narrow shoes might cause bunions or might make them worse. Bunions can also develop as a result of an inherited structural defect, stress on your foot or a medical condition, such as arthritis.

Smaller bunions (bunionettes) also can develop on the joint of your little toes.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

The signs and symptoms of a bunion include:

  • A bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe
  • Swelling, redness or soreness around your big toe joint
  • Thickening of the skin at the base of your big toe
  • Corns or calluses — these often develop where the first and second toes overlap
  • Persistent or intermittent pain
  • Restricted movement of your big toe

When to see a doctor

Although bunions often require no medical treatment, see your doctor or a doctor who specializes in treating foot disorders (podiatrist or orthopedic foot specialist) if you have:

  • Persistent big toe or foot pain
  • A visible bump on your big toe joint
  • Decreased movement of your big toe or foot
  • Difficulty finding shoes that fit properly because of a bunion

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use