Pictures of Different Bunion Types

Bunion with Skin Irritation

A bunion with skin irritation.
A bunion with skin irritation. zlisjak/Getty Images

Some bunions are more severe and cause more symptoms than others. The bump on the side of the big toe joint (first metatarsophalangeal joint) may be red and painful from rubbing against the shoe. Inflammation of the big toe joint and surrounding area may also contribute to the pain. Sometimes bursitis, an inflamed pocket of fluid, can occur over the bump.

You are not alone in having a bunion; more than a third of American women have bunions, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society.

Preventing bunion pain and further inflammation depends on selecting the right shoes and even the right socks. Look for shoes with a wide toe box, wide instep, soft soles, and that have a smooth surface in the bunion area.

You don't want your foot moving too much within the shoe and rubbing the bunion, but it has to be wide enough to fit. Shoes that have stretchy material in the uppers will often be more comfortable. Avoid pointed-toe shoes and shoes with heels higher than 2 1/4 inches. Mary Jane style shoes can be a good choice for women, as can clogs or shoes with rocker soles for both men and women.

Also, check your socks. If they fit too snugly, they could also be irritating your bunion. If they are too loose they may bunch up in your shoes and rub your bunion the wrong way.


Bunions, American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, accessed 2/3/16.

How to Select the Right Athletic Shoes, American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, accessed 2/3/16.

Hallux Rigidus. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, accessed 2/3/16.

Larger bunions like this usually make it difficult to find shoes that fit comfortably. Notice the redness of the bump and shifting of the toes outward, all common signs of a significant bunion.

When you have a large, irritated bunion you need to find shoes that have a wide-enough toe box. You also need to look for shoes that don't rub in the bunion area. Once a bunion is very large, it's hard to find shoes that fit and don't cause further inflammation.

Large Bunion

A large bunion.
A large bunion. bgwalker/Getty Images

This foot has a large bunion at the big toe joint, as well as a tailor's bunion at the pinkie toe. A tailor's bunion is also known as a bunionette. The widening of the forefoot from both bunions makes shoe wear even more challenging.

Finding footwear that will accommodate your bunions is no easy task. You need to shop for wide shoes, but also look for styles that don't give you a sloppy fit that will result in the foot sliding around in the shoe, causing even more trauma.

Bunion Seen With Hallux Limitus

A bunion seen with hallux limitus.
A bunion seen with hallux limitus. Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

This smaller type of bunion is often seen with a condition called hallux limitus, which is characterized by a limited range of motion at the big toe joint. The limited range of motion leads to jamming of the big toe joint, which over time can cause a bunion to develop on the top of the big toe joint.

Another term for hallux limitus is hallux rigidus.

Stiff-soled shoes or styles with rocker soles are often recommended for hallux limitus. Custom orthotics may also help.

Tailor's Bunion

A tailor's bunion.
A tailor's bunion. vandervelden/Getty Images

A tailor's bunion, also known as a bunionette, is a bump that forms on the pinkie toe side of the foot. Like a bunion at the big toe, it is caused by abnormal foot structure or function. The pinkie toe has drifted toward the fourth toe due to the bunion.

As with a bunion, shoe fit is important for relieving pain from a bunionette. Look for shoes that have a soft upper and plenty of space in the toe box.

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