Hallux valgus foot deformities -- commonly called bunions -- are often painful and may eventually affect your ability to walk. These deformities are often hereditary and may begin to develop during adolescence. According to a study published in June 2008 in "Arthritis & Rheumatism," hallux valgus is bilateral -- meaning both feet are affected -- in roughly 50 percent people with the condition.
Bilateral hallux valgus occurs when the big toes angle inward, toward your other toes. This often causes the bone at the base of your toes to stick out, making it difficult to wear shoes. Over time, your shoes may rub against these bones. This may lead to soft tissue inflammation, causing redness and pain. Hallux valgus can also cause deformities in other toes due to pressure from your big toe.
Painful hallux valgus may require treatment. A splint may be worn at night to help move your toe toward the correct position, but this is only effective if your bones are still growing. Wider shoes and cut-out pads may decrease pressure on the side of your foot where the bones protrude, although these are temporary solutions.
Surgery is the only way to permanently correct hallux valgus. A portion of the prominent bone is surgically removed and tight soft tissue structures are released to improve the position of your toe. A small screw or wire may be inserted to further stabilize the toe in the correct position.