Bunions are a common foot deformity, especially in women.  They will most frequently develop from wearing shoes with high heels or shoes that are too small. Pressure applied due to shoes that are too tight or ill-fitting will cause the bones of the toes to be displaced.  This creates a large painful bump on the side of the foot near the big toe.

Simply changing to wider or better-fitting shoes with a low heel can help treat bunions.  If non-surgical treatments fail, surgery may be necessary to restore normal alignment, pain-free movement, and proper function. There are numerous surgical techniques for treating bunions, and the majority of people experience positive results.


The base of the bone in your big toe (proximal phalanx) meets with the head of the metatarsal bone in your foot and forms the metatarsophalangeal joint.  There are ligaments that connect the two bones together. Tendons bind muscles to bones and allow movement. The metatarsophalangeal joint bends whenever you walk. Pressure on this area caused by tight shoes or shoes with high heels displaces the bones of the toe, resulting in the bunion.

Bunion Causes

Bunions are a common condition. The vast majority of bunions occur in women, but that doesn’t mean that males are immune. Most bunions result from pressure caused by shoes that are too narrow, tight, too pointed, or have a high heel. Arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, and polio can all contribute to bunion formation.

A bunion occurs when the bones at the base of the big toe move out of alignment.  The big toe could either lean toward or move underneath the second toe. The second toe could move out of alignment and overlap the third toe. Long term irritation causes the base of the big toe to enlarge and a fluid-filled sac could form. This creates a large bump on the side of the foot over the joint.

Bunion Symptoms

A bunion causes the base of your big toe to stick out and form a bump on the side of your foot; this visible bump is what is typically labeled as the bunion rather than the underlying cause.  A bunion can potentially be large, red, swollen, and painful. The skin on the bottom of your foot may thicken and form a painful callus. It may hurt to bend your toe, walk, or wear shoes.

A bunion causes your foot to look different.  Your toes could potentially intersect each other, or lean forward and backward.

Bunion Diagnosis

Your doctor can diagnose a bunion after reviewing your medical history, examining your foot, and taking X-rays of the affected area. The X-ray will show the structure and alignment of the bones to confirm the location and extent of the bunion.

Bunion Treatment

Simply changing shoes is sufficient treatment for most bunions.  It is helpful to wear wide shoes with low heels. Good foot care including felt or foam pads worn between the toes or on the foot may help protect the area and prevent further discomfort. Shoe inserts custom-made for your individual foot can help position the toe and relieve pain as well.

Bunion Surgery

In severe cases where nonsurgical treatments fail, surgery can be necessary.  Bunion surgery is used to realign the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.  The bones of the toe are placed in their correct positions and the bony bump is removed.  There are numerous surgical techniques used to treat bunions. Your doctor will discuss with you the most appropriate options for your situation.

Bunion surgery is an outpatient surgical procedure. Ankle-Block anesthesia or general anesthesia may be used so that you do not feel pain during the procedure.  After the surgery, the bones are held in position with wires, screws plates, or a cast while they heal.

Bunion Recovery

You should keep your foot elevated the first few days following your surgery, and apply ice packs as directed by your doctor.  A special cast or orthopedic shoe will protect your foot from further damage as it heals. You may temporarily need to use crutches, a walker, or cane as you gradually increase the amount of weight you can put on your foot.  Physical therapy can help to restore strength and motion. It can often take many weeks to recover from bunion surgery. The majority of people have good to excellent outcomes.

At SPORT, we will identify the source of your pain and then utilize state-of-the-art therapeutic techniques that focus on restoring your range of motion.

Depending on the specific condition and its severity, these treatment options may include physical therapy, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, slings and supports, cortisone shots, or surgery.

If you have an acute or chronic shoulder or elbow injury that needs medical attention, call SPORT at (469) 200-2832 to arrange a consultation or you can request one online. Hurt today? We can arrange a same-day urgent care visit to ensure you get fast, effective relief.

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