We believe that informed patients are better equipped to make decisions regarding their health and well being. For your personal use, we have created an extensive patient library covering an array of educational topics. Browse through these diagnoses and treatments to learn more about topics of interest to you. Or, for a more comprehensive search of our entire web site, enter your term(s) in the search bar provided.

What is a Podiatrist?

When To Call a Podiatrist

Foot Anatomy

Overview of Foot and Ankle Problems

Basic Foot Care Guidelines

Foot Problems

Achilles Problems

Ankle Problems

Arch and Ball Problems

Common Foot Injuries

Deformities

Diabetes and Your Feet

Diseases of the Foot

Fungus Problems

Heel Problems

Nail Problems

Skin Problems

Toe Problems

Vascular/Nerve Problems

Medical Care

Diagnostic Procedures

Orthotics

Pain Management

Surgical Procedures

Therapies

Fitness and Your Feet

General Information About Fitness and Your Feet

Exercise Those Toes!

Aerobics

Fitness And Your Feet

Sports and Your Feet

Stretching

Walking and Your Feet

Work Footwear

Foot Care

Basic Foot Care Guidelines

Athletic Foot Care

Blisters

Children's Feet

Corns and Calluses

Diabetic Foot Care

Exercise Those Toes!

Foot Care For Seniors

Foot Self-Exam

Pedicures

Self-Assessment Quiz

Women's Feet

Fungus Problems

Foot Odor and Smelly Feet

Shoes

Anatomy of a Shoe

Athletic Shoe Guidelines

Children's Shoes

Corrective and Prescription Shoes

What To Look For

Getting a Proper Fit

Men's Shoes

Women's Shoes

Your Footprint

Wear Patterns

Links

Government

Associations/Groups

Online Resources

 

 

As always, you can contact our office to answer any questions or concerns.



A bunion is a bone deformity caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). Bunions form when the toe moves out of place. The enlargement and its protuberance cause friction and pressure as they rub against footwear. Over time, the movement of the big toe angles in toward the other toes, sometimes overlapping a third toe (known as Hallux Varus). The growing enlargement or protuberance then causes more irritation or inflammation. In some cases, the big toe moves toward the second toe and rotates or twists, which is known as Hallus Abducto Varus. Bunions can also lead to other toe deformities, such as hammertoe.

Many people with bunions suffer from discomfort and pain from the constant irritation, rubbing, and friction of the enlargement against shoes. The skin over the toe becomes red and tender. Because this joint flexes with every step, the bigger the bunion gets, the more it hurts to walk. Over time, bursitis or arthritis may set in, the skin on the bottom of the foot may become thicker, and everyday walking may become difficult—all contributing to chronic pain.

Wearing shoes that are too tight is the leading cause of bunions. Bunions are not hereditary, but they do tend to run in families, usually because of a faulty foot structure. Foot injuries, neuromuscular problems, flat feet, and pronated feet can contribute to their formation. It is estimated that bunions occur in 33 percent of the population in Western countries.

Treatment for Bunions

Because they are bone deformities, bunions do not resolve by themselves. The goal for bunion treatment is twofold: first, to relieve the pressure and pain caused by irritations, and second to stop any progressive growth of the enlargement. Commonly used methods for reducing pressure and pain caused by bunions include:

  • Protective padding, often made from felt material, to eliminate the friction against shoes and help alleviate inflammation and skin problems.
  • Removal of corns and calluses on the foot.
  • Changing to carefully fitted footwear designed to accommodate the bunion and not contribute toward its growth.
  • Orthotic devices—both over-the-counter and custom made—to help stabilize the joint and place the foot in the correct position for walking and standing.
  • Exercises to maintain joint mobility and prevent stiffness or arthritis.
  • Splints for nighttime wear to help the toes and joint align properly. This is often recommended for adolescents with bunions, because their bone development may still be adaptable.

Surgical Treatment

Depending on the size of the enlargement, misalignment of the toe, and pain experienced, conservative treatments may not be adequate to prevent progressive damage from bunions. In these cases, bunion surgery, known as a bunionectomy, may be advised to remove the bunion and realign the toe.