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eMed previously Babylon Health


Written by Dr Claudia Pastides, 24th June 2019

In plain terms, a bunion is when your big toe leans towards your second toe (and sometimes even goes on to lie across it). The base of the big toe then looks like it sticks out sideways and sometimes becomes a bit swollen and inflamed.


  • High heeled shoes appear to increase the likelihood of bunions1
  • Family history of bunions
  • Being flat footed

Typical Symptoms

  • A large bump at the base of the big toe.
  • A deformity of the big toe with the end of the toe pointing inward
  • Toe pain
  • Difficulty walking

Common Treatment

  • Over the counter or prescribed pain relievers, including ice packs and bunion pads
  • Wide shoes with soft soles and low heels
  • Supports for the toe
  • Surgery to correct the deformity

When to speak to a doctor

Bunions that are painful and interfering with day to day life can often be initially managed via a digital consultation. If the GP decides you need a face to face appointment, x-ray or referral to a specialist, they will discuss what steps you can take next.

To speak to one of our GPs, download the app and create an account today.

It is important to speak more urgently to a doctor if you have:

  • A hot, red, painful toe
  • A fever
  • A history of diabetes or any condition where your immune system could be low

More information


References (2019). Bunions - NICE CKS. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Jun. 2019].

Please note that this material is for general information only and should never be used as a substitute for personalised medical advice provided during a consultation with a doctor.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.