Foot bunion bursitis

What is foot bunion bursitis?

Bursitis on the side of the large toe is called a bunion (also hallux valgus).

  • ‘Bunio’ = enlargement in latin
  • ‘Hallux’ = big toe joint in latin (also metatarsophalangeal MTP)

Basically, it is a bump on the side of a big toe when it happens that your big toe tilts towards the second finger as a result of a complex displacement of bones and muscles in the foot.

The condition may become painful as both the extra bone and the bursa sac on the joint grow over time.

Bursitis close to the fifth toe is called a bunionette or a baby-bunion.

Bunions are the most common type of foot bursitis, but there are other bursa sacs on your feet that can cause trouble if irritated and/or inflamed, for example:

  • on the ball of your foot and close to your toes (metatarsal and intermetatarsal) - sometimes called 'fore-foot bursitis'
  • on the bottom of your heal (calcaneal)


Bad shoes

Wearing inappropriate footwear is a major factor leading to bursitis.

Shoes one size too small, narrow toe space, high heels, wonder that about 90% of bunions occur in women.


There are genetic pre-dispositions that can increase the chance of you developing this foot aliment:

  • Family history of bunions, arthritic conditions or neuromuscular diseases (e.g. down syndrome). These cause imbalances in the body contributing to bunions.
  • Atypical bones. People born with unusual bones are more likely to form a bunion.
  • Leg length differences. Bunion usually shows on the longer leg.
  • Age. Bone displacement worsens over time.
  • Females. Bunions are more common in women.


Risk of bursitis increases with repetitive motions and as a result of injury and sudden trauma.


Symptoms of a bunion include:

  • Bony bump over the joint
  • Big toe turned towards the other toes
  • Swelling
  • Pain over the joint - increased with pressure and friction from shoes
  • Redness (if inflammation continues, an ulcer may form)


The main focus in treatment is to relieve the pressure on the bunion and stop its progression.

Aside from the usual conventional and natural bursitis treatments, special orthotic products are available and helpful for patients with foot bunion bursitis as they help to prevent and correct the deformity without the need for a painful surgery. Wear:

  • Bunion pads around the bone
  • Spacers to separate the first and second toes
  • Wide-toed footwear (no high-heels)

  • Old comfy shoes with a hole cut out for the bunion (at home)

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