Bunions and Hammer Toes


Bunions, also called hallux valgus, occur when the joint and the soft tissues located near the baseline of the big toe start to bulge. This causes the big toe to deviate towards the other toes, creating a bony malformation, which causes a bump to grow next to the joint. The bunion creates a stinging sensation, which can be more or less painful. It can also generate other problems, such as corns and callouses on the other toes, or a lack of big toe mobility, which limits a person’s gait.

Women, men, and children can all suffer from hallux valgus. Wearing shoes that are not universally aligned, or shoes that are too small, can stimulate the growth of hallux valgus.

Other factors can also influence the onset of hallux valgus, such as:

  • A serious foot injury
  • Family history (heredity)
  • Neuromuscular deficiencies
  • Various types of arthritis
  • Impaired joints
  • Weak ankles
  • Birth defects
  • Trauma

We recommend wearing universally aligned shoes that are adjusted to minimize the pressure on the hallux valgus near the front of the shoe to eliminate any friction which may otherwise cause pain or redness. Semi-rigid universal alignment postural control foot orthotics will be prescribed to prevent the condition from worsening. Additional orthopaedic correctives may also be used. In certain cases, surgery may be considered to correct the deviation.

Hammer Toes (flexible or rigid)

Hammer toes is a condition that causes a curvature of either the second toe, or the third and fourth toes. This deformation happens near the middle of the toe, which curves downwards and looks like a hammer. People suffering from this condition experience strong pain and redness caused by the curvature rubbing against the shoe, making shoe-wearing painful.

Hammer toe symptoms include:

  • Limited and painful movement of the toe joint
  • Painful sole of the foot of the affected toe
  • Callouses
  • Redness

Poor foot alignment and various types of arthritis are all factors that can contribute to the development of a hammer toe. To relieve this ailment, make a habit of having your universally aligned shoes checked and adjusted; you can also use Semi-rigid universal alignment postural control foot orthotics.

To learn more or to schedule a foot evaluation, contact us at Centre Santé du Pied André Audette in Gatineau. We offer a free evaluation!