What is a Bunion?

Bunions (hallux valgus) are misaligned big toe joints that can become swollen and tender, causing the first joint of the big toe to slant outward, and the second joint to angle toward the other toes. Bunions tend to be hereditary, but can be aggravated by shoes that are narrow in the forefoot and toe. Surgery by a podiatric physician is frequently recommended to correct the problem.

Causes of Bunions

Pointed shoes, such as high heels and cowboy boots, can contribute to the development of hallux valgus. Abnormal foot function comes into play in the development of almost all bunions, and the most common abnormality is from over-pronation or excessive flattening of the foot (which is easily correctable with an orthotic). In addition, heredity can also be a factor for the cause of bunions.


Bunions can be quite painful. A severe hallux valgus deformity is also distressing, and becomes a cosmetic problem. Finding appropriate footwear can become difficult. Ultimately, as the deformity worsens it begins to displace the second toe upward, and may create a situation where the second toe is constantly rubbing on the shoe.

Treatment with Conservative Care

BunionTreatment of hallux valgus nearly always starts with adapting the shoe wear to fit the foot. In the early stages of hallux valgus, converting from a pointed toe shoe to a wider box toe shoe may arrest the progression of the deformity. The pain that arises from the bunion is due to pressure from the shoe. Treatment focuses on removing the pressure that the shoe exerts on the deformity. Wider shoes reduce the pressure on the bunion. Bunion pads may reduce pressure and rubbing from the shoe. There are also numerous devices, such as toe spacers, that attempt to splint the big toe and reverse the deforming forces.

Treatment with Bunion Surgery

In some very mild cases of bunion formation surgery may only be required to remove the bump that makes up the bunion.

There are many negative stereotypes associated with bunion surgery. People have heard horror stories from grandmas and neighbors. Well my friend, times have changed! It’s not the same bunion surgery your grandmother had; bunion surgery does not have to be painful. The recovery time for bunion can be very short depending on your situation.

Remember: The bunion is not going to go away. You need to treat it and the earlier you do, the less likely your bunion will require surgery!