Medical Services

Helpful Information About Bunions

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is a bony bump at the base of the big toe. As the bump gets bigger, it causes the big toe to turn in toward the second toe. The tissues around the joint may be swollen and tender.

A bony bump at the base of the little toe is called a bunionette or tailor’s bunion. The little toe also bends inward, and the joint swells or enlarge.

What Causes Bunions?

A bunion occurs when mal-alignment of the joint causes the big toe to move toward the second toe. As this happens, the area around the big toe joint swells and becomes painful. You might also have pain just by moving the big toe. Unfortunately, without treatment, this condition will gradually get worse and may lead to arthritis in the joint.

How are Bunions Diagnosed?

One of our physicians will ask questions about your past health and carefully examine your toe and joint. Some of the questions might be:

  • When did the bunions start?
  • What activities or shoes make them worse?
  • Do any other joints hurt?

The doctor will examine your toe and joint and check their range of motion. This is done while you are sitting and while you are standing so that the doctor can see the toe and joint at rest and while bearing weight. Sometimes X-Rays and other tests are used as well.

Do I Need to Get Treatment for a Bunion?

If the problem progresses, other areas of the foot may become affected, including the toes and the ball of the foot. This can make wearing conventional shoes uncomfortable.

The sooner you can treat your bunion the better. With early treatment bunions can respond to conservative care and may not need surgery right away.

What are my Treatment Options?

There are several treatments available for bunions:

  • Orthotic Devices
    You may choose to live with the problem by wearing shoes that provide plenty of room for the enlarged area. Special inserts known as "orthotic devices" can help control the biomechanical imbalances you may have. Sometimes, these relieve pain if the deformity has not progressed too far.
  • Type A Surgery
    This surgery removes the bunion “bump” and realigns the joint. It is done when there is a large bony prominence and the toe is in relatively good position.
  • Type B Surgery
    This removes the bunion “bump” and repositions the big toe. It is necessary when the big toe moves toward the second toe.
  • Type C Surgery
    This is for painful deformities in which arthritis is present in the joint, and removes arthritic and diseased cartilage; an implant may be used. This becomes necessary when bunion deformities are neglected, longstanding, or secondary to injury.

Which Treatment is Right for Me?

The best treatment depends entirely on your unique health history and the nature of your particular bunion. Before receiving any treatment, the first step is to have an evaluation by one of our physicians. The doctor will then be in a position to make a recommendation.

How Do I Make an Appointment?

Making an appointment with us is quick and easy.
Call our office at 480-834-8804, or: