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Bunions. Are they hereditary? Can they be prevented? Is surgery a definitive solution?

La way of stepping has a Direct relation with a multitude of osteoarticular and muscular injuries such as Juanetes. We tell you all about this pathology so frequent in this article.




The "bunion”, technically called “Hallux valgus", is he thickening of the big toe joint and with a deviation of the same inward. This pathology is the consequence of thousands of steps that a person has given of a certain way of stepping, fostered, on many occasions, by the use of high heel shoes y footwear with narrow tips.




La main cause to generate it is an incorrect way of stepping, specifically in those who have a tendency to pes valgus (that is, to put the foot inwards when walking) or to have a high arched foot (with a lot of curvature) that generates a excess load in the metatarsal area.


The main symptom is swelling, redness, and pain when the bunion (or nearby area) rubs against shoes.


Foot with a red bunion




It is very common to hear expressions like "He walks just like his father". And it's usually true. The way of stepping inherits, as well as many other physical traits (eye color, hair color, etc.). This way of stepping "inherited" and maintained for many years can generate diseases that could have been prevented if it had been remedied in time. One of the clearest examples is the “Juanetes".


It is quite common to see consultation to a whole family that has been progressively developing its "bunion". We have seen in some families the grandmother with a “generous bunion”, the daughter with a “discreet bunion” and the granddaughter with a “sign of a bunion”.


Viewing this sequence it is clear that the "bunion" must have something to do with the genetics and that the daughter and granddaughter are seeing their "bunion" evolve. However, neither the grandmother, nor the daughter, nor the granddaughter were born with the bunion.


What is really inherited is a way of foot and a way of stepping (which if it is not adequate will end up generating the bunion).


It is clear that we cannot influence genetics (podologically speaking), but we must not resign ourselves to seeing how our "bunion" is growing. If the grandmother and the daughter have a bunion, we should see the grandchildren as soon as possible, since we can surely remedy that "family tradition".


Feet of a father with his son's feet on top




If it is clear that the fundamental motive to develop it is overload generated in that joint, prevention will come headed for detect that way of stepping and eliminate said pressure. To reduce the pressure in the area, and therefore avoid the generation of the bunion, we can:


  • conduct a biomechanical study of gait in specialized clinics. In those children in whom there is a family history of "bunions", it will be essential to study of early treading to be able to treat it in time.
  • Using custom templates, if the specialist considers it necessary, modify the alignment of the foot and change the distribution of loads on it.
  • Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes high. Every centimeter that we raise the heel progressively increases the overload that is generated in the metatarsal area (under the toes). In the case of of, it is more common to suffer from this pathology due to the use of this footwear.
  • Do not use narrow tips, since they favor the first finger to deform inwards.
  • Perform barefoot exercises from time to time for enhance the foot and leg muscles, thus improving the natural control of pronation (flattening of the foot).


Podoactiva's own bunion infographic





Once the bunion has been generated, the surgery it is a very good solution effective to treat it. exist different techniques and methodologies, and open surgery or the minimal incision surgery, for example. This last technique consists of the introduction by a small incision of a bur (similar to the one used to file a nail or the one used by the dentist to make a filling). That strawberry goes "eating" the bone in the precise areas to achieve remove the bunium (thickened area of ​​the joint and to improve the alignment of the finger). Discover all about this methodology in our article “Minimum incision podiatric surgery. Technique to treat bunions and other pathologies and walk out of consultation”.


Choose one or the other technique It will depend on the type of bunion and the experience of the surgeon. Both techniques can achieve good results. But, Is surgical treatment definitive for bunions?

Two equal feet with bunions

It must be understood that in most cases surgery does not treat the cause but the result (which is the bunion). If once operated we do not follow the specialist recommendations and we continue stepping the same it is very possible that the bunion redevelop over the years.


Some surgical techniques modify certain muscle structures to to correct in a certain way the load that the bunion will support after surgery, but in most cases it is necessary to use some custom templates which improve load distribution on the foot to prevent it from developing again. However, this does not mean that the person operated on for a bunion needs to use templates for all of their activities. Surely with using them in those activities that generate higher load (sports activity, long walks, etc.) is enough to prevent the future appearance of the bunion.

foot with red bunion



In those cases where the patient do not want to go through surgery, One custom templates Done well, they can greatly improve bunion pain.


We can find templates almost anywhere (especially the generic in supermarkets, sports stores, etc.), but it is important to understand that a poorly designed or "generic" insole can worsen the problem or cause a different pathology (even in other structures such as the knee). Therefore, it is essential to go to a specialized clinic so that they can do some custom templates, from a biomechanical study.


In addition to custom templates, use a correct footwear (no high heel and narrow toe) will help prevent foot compression and toe drift.


If surgery is not an option for the patient, personalized insoles are the best option to avoid pain and slow down the progression of the bunion.


foot with custom insole by Podoactiva




We must understand that the bunion is generated in response to the load generated by walking in the first metatarsophalangeal joint. when we sleep the load supported by this joint is zero. It makes no sense to use certain "gadgets" that try to pull the toe in the opposite direction to combat the advance of the bunion. The bunion does not progress at night. In other words, the bunion “sleeps” at night. With the use of some of these gadgets, perhaps what we achieve is that the one who does not sleep is the patient.


The silicone spacers that sometimes podiatrists recommend between the first and second toes are not oriented so that the bunion does not advance (in fact, it will continue to advance if we only use the separator). They are designed to prevent the friction between the first and second fingers from generating a callus or friction injury.


What is going to prevent the bunion from advancing is fundamentally giving a correct support and alignment to the plantar vault, reducing the load on the bunion area and this will be achieved with custom templates for the type of foot, way of stepping and weight of the patient.


Infographic about bunions from Podoactiva


At Podoactiva we can help you. Consult your nearest Podoactiva clinic HERE or contact us at 974 231 280 or Traves de



CEO Podoactiva

Podiatry Manager Sanitas-Real Madrid

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  • Lady Nicoara
    Posted at 14: 05h, 29 December Reply

    Good morning,
    Good morning,
    A few years ago I had a bunion on my right foot. My feet are cavus feet. I am accumulating information to have surgery but I am very confused, because each doctor tells me something different and most advise me not to have surgery, the reason is that they do not assure me that the result will be positive because it depends on each person. The truth is that I would like to have surgery. What do you suggest for me?
    Thanks in advance.

  • Maria Fubel Diaz Rodriguez
    Posted at 17:27 a.m., January 04 Reply

    Only solution for
    The only solution to disappear the bunion is only with surgery?

  • editor
    Posted at 10:27 a.m., April 16 Reply

    Good morning, to appreciate the
    Good morning, to assess the nature of the appearance of your bunion and the options that exist to solve it, we must carry out a biomechanical study in any of our clinics. After that study we will be able to advise you one or another solution. In the article we try to explain the possible causes of bunions and their solutions, although each case is different and it is necessary to study it specifically. All the best.

  • editor
    Posted at 10:32 a.m., April 16 Reply

    Hello, the solution will depend
    Hello, the solution will depend on the nature of the appearance of the bunion. We must understand that in most cases, surgery does not treat the cause but the result (which is the bunion). If, once operated, we continue to step on the same, it is very possible that the bunion will develop again over the years and a few thousand steps taken.

  • Reyes
    Posted at 21:00 a.m., April 21 Reply

    where can i contact
    Where can I contact you in ASTURIAS
    Thank you

  • partners
    Posted at 16:58 p.m., May 04 Reply

    Hello Kings, you can find

    Hi Reyes, you can find all the centers where we are here We will be happy to assist you in any of them. All the best.

  • adriana suarez
    Posted at 20: 35h, 08 November Reply

    I would like to know where I can
    I would like to know where I can get custom insoles I have a bunion and my footprint is concave

    • partners
      Posted at 12: 19h, 09 November Reply

      Good morning Adriana. It
      Good morning Adriana. The first thing we recommend is that you visit a podiatrist to check your footprint and diagnose the use of custom insoles. In this link you can find your nearest Podoactiva center and all the contact information to make an appointment. All the best.

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