A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is often described as a bump on the side of the big toe. The visible bump is evidence of changes in the framework of the front part of the foot bones. The big toe leans toward the second toe, rather than pointing straight ahead. This throws the bones out of alignment—producing the bunion’s bump.
Bunions are a progressive disorder. They begin with the big toe slanting, gradually changing the angle of the bones over the years and slowly producing the bump, which becomes increasingly prominent. Symptoms usually appear at later stages, although some people never have symptoms.