Learn About Bunions

bunionA bunion is a bony deformation, which forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. The main signs of bunions are the big toe pointing towards the next toe of the same foot and the swelling at the base of the big toe. The force on the big toe by the other toes of the foot can make the base of the big toe swell like a bump. This can change the shape of your foot and lead to pain and tenderness around the big toe. This deformity is known as “hallux valgus” in medicine. Smaller bunions can also be formed in the smaller toes, which are known as “bunionettes”

Other than swelling and pain, bunions can have several other symptoms too. In most cases redness or soreness can be seen around the big toe. Sometimes, these patients complaint about thickening of the skin too. One of the serious symptoms or complications of bunions is the limitation of the movement of the big toe. In some cases corns and calluses are being noted between the first and the second toes. Bunions affect people’s health mentally as well as physically, as they are a visible defect.


There can be several causes of this condition and among them; family history plays a main role. This is the reason why bunions can be seen even in children. Further, bunions are thought to be due to unusual flexibility of the joints and this flexibility is genetically inherited by the people. Some say that wearing bad fitting shoes for a long time can form bunions too. In some cases different chronic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout and other lead to this medical condition.

Even though bunions are harmless most of the time, they can cause several complications in very rare occasions. One of them is bursitis or inflammation of the fluid filled pads of the joint. Hammertoe and matatarsalgia or painful ball of the foot are the other two complications which have been noted in some cases of bunions.


The diagnosis is stated according to the complaints, evidence of physical examination of the foot and by a X-ray confirming them.


If we talk about the treatment of bunions, good footwear is all that is needed in most of the cases. Wearing good footwear may not cure the deformity, but, will reduce the symptoms and discomfort. A Podiatrist can definitely help you to find the correct footwear for your feet. He may further advice you to wear shoes which are not too tight and have enough space for all of your toes, to not to wear high heels, to wear shoes with padding over your bunion and sometimes devices which help the toes to become straightened also can be recommended.

Medications are also prescribed if the patient is having pain and inflammation in the area. These can be mostly NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) such as paracetamol or Ibuprofen. A course of antibiotics is needed if the skin over the bunion is damaged, as it may lead to an infection of the toe.

Even the surgical treatment can be done according to the severity, cause and the need. The main aim of the surgery is to straighten the joint and reduce the pain to the maximum while some patients ask for the surgery to improve the appearance of the toe. This is not a serious surgery as the patient can leave the hospital on the same day after the surgery. Even though above stated surgery is the most common, there are several other surgeries performed in this medical condition. The specialist will choose what kind of a surgery need for the patient as the treatment is always specific for each individual. Some perform scarf osteotomy or a trimming a part of the bone to change the shape of the toe, while some perform a total artificial toe joint replacement. In either way, the main aim is to fulfill the needs and reduce the symptoms caused by bunions.

Even a surgery can not give you hundred percent healing. A doctor can never remove the bunion totally and make the toe perfectly straight as before. Therefore, you need to talk to your doctor about the possibilities as well as the pros and cons of the surgery. Unfortunately, there can be several complications of these surgeries such as, continuous pain, infections and even bunions returning. Let’s say you have satisfactory healing after the surgery, but, you should not forget that you should still reduce the risk of complications, and that is why your surgeon will ask you to wear sensible, wide shoes until six months after the surgery.


Prevention of the bunions is recommended than the treatment. There are several things you can do to avoid this deformity. They are; Wearing shoes which are not too tight and make sure that they do not cramp or irritate your feet, Wearing shoes with a wide toe box, avoiding pointy-toed shoes, avoiding high heels and if you have any chronic disease which may lead to bunions, getting the proper treatment will help you avoid getting this toe deformity.

Dr. Paul A. Weiner Podiatric Medicine and SurgeryNeeding more information on Bunions and treatments available? Give us a call at (561) 265-5424, or contact us . Find the best podiatry services in Palm Beach County at our Delray Beach Foot Clinic located  here. Needing to schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul Weiner Click here.

 Posted on : July 23, 2014