Bunions: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and More!

Bunion in the Foot



Wearing poor-fitting shoes can be uncomfortable and increase your risk of developing bunions. Learn more about symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention of bunions in your feet.

A bunion is a bump located next to the big toe. It forms when the bones in the big toe are shifted, typically from wearing ill-fitting shoes. Bunions can occur in one or both feet and can severely impact your daily activities.


Symptoms of Bunions 

Bunions can result in a bump on the side of your foot. This bump may look red, swollen, and will feel painful to the touch, making it difficult for you to walk or wear shoes. You may also notice that your toes tend to lean away from the bunion.

Arthritis in the big toe joint can often be confused for a bunion. You may experience pain and swelling in either condition; the key distinction being the bump found with the bunion. It is best to seek help from a foot doctor to form an accurate diagnosis.


Causes of Bunions 

Bunions are formed when there is pressure on the big toe. This pressure causes the bones in the big toe and foot to shift, forming a bump on the side of the foot.

This painful bump typically occurs from wearing shoes that are too small or narrow. Women are more suspectable to developing bunions due to a higher usage of pointed shoes such as high heels.

In addition to ill-fitting shoes, genetics and arthritis can increase your risk for developing a bunion.


Can a Bunion go Away on Its Own? 

Bunions can not go away on their own. You will need proper treatment to get rid of a bunion or prevent the bunion from worsening.


Who is a Risk of Developing Bunions? 

Age, genetics, occupation, and your shoes can all have an affect on your likelihood to develop bunions. Wearing shoes like high heels often can increase your risk of developing bunions. In addition, working a job where you are constantly on your feet can increase your risk. If you multiple people in your family have bunions, you are more likely to develop bunions as well.


Treatment for Bunions 

When it comes to bunion treatment, it is hard to find options other than surgery to treat this condition.

We asked Kelsie Frey, Nurse Practitioner to Nashville Foot and Ankle Specialist, Dr. Jeffrey Willers, for her insight on this condition. When asked about treatment options, Kelsie states, “Bunions are one of the main things in the foot and ankle world that doesn’t really have any good conservative treatment options. The only true treatment option is surgery.”

Kelsie explains that the type of surgery needed depends on the severity of the deformity of the 1st MTP joint. “The most common and ‘classic’ bunion correction surgery is known as a distal chevron osteotomy and is occasionally used in combination with an akin osteotomy. Despite some patient’s assumption, it is not as easy as just ‘cutting off the bump’ since there is an actual angular deformity of the 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint.”


Prevention for Bunions 

The best way to prevent a bunion is to wear shoes that fit properly.

Here are some tips to help you find that right shoe for you:


Book an Appointment with a Bunion Specialist Near You

If you have a bump on the side of your big toe, or are experiencing pain, redness, and swelling on the side of your foot, you may have a bunion.

Our foot and ankle doctors, Dr. Jeffrey Willers, and Dr. Brian Thomson, treat patients with bunions. Schedule an appointment with one of our foot and ankle specialist in Nashville and Franklin, TN.

Marina von Rutenberg Marina is the Marketing Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/marina-von-rutenberg/

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