Hallux valgus is a deformity of the big toe which causes it to capsize off its joint and migrate laterally.
This deformity is often blamed on poor foot-wear but it is rarely if ever the result of ill-fitting shoes. The cause is the primary deformity of the bone more proximally (hallux metatarsal) and this is a congenital deformity. It may occur in families and many patients will report their mother or grandmother had a similar condition.
It is generally a benign problem but pain is the main symptom. This can be due to pressure of the shoes on the bony deformity but also degeneration of the soft tissue structures supporting the toe.
Hallux valgus is generally diagnosed by clinical examination and plain x-ray of the foot.
Modifications to shoes to accommodate the foot alignment are the first line of treatment. When it causes more troublesome pain, makes shoe fitting a problem or progresses, it can easily be fully corrected by surgery.