The Big Bad Bunion: Does Your Child Need Bunion Surgery?

Posted by Dr. Jeffrey L. Adler

Dec 9, 2015 4:00:00 PM

little girl's feet

Children are usually afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, but unfortunately some children have to deal with a Big Bad Bunion. Our New York podiatrists often talk with parents who are wondering if their child has a bunion and if bunion surgery will be needed. When you think of someone having a bunion, it’s usually not a child, but an older adult with a bump caused by bad joints or poorly fitting shoes. However, children can have bunions too.

How Do Children Get Bunions?

Bunions are genetic in nature, so if you’ve experienced a bunion then your child has the potential to have one too. There is usually an underlining problem with the foot structure causing the bunion. If it’s bad enough it can start affecting the individual at a young age. While shoes don’t actually cause a bunion, they can aggravate it.

Are Bunions Painful For Children?

Sometimes children are overly dramatic and may act like a bunion is worse than it really is because they just don’t understand what the bump is on their foot.  Usually, a bunion looks worse than it feels. Because children are young, resilient, and have healthy joints and cartilage, they don’t typically feel much pain caused by the bunion. But the pain can increase as the child gets older and the bunion gets worse.

Should The Bunion Be Corrected?

Bunions don’t get better, they only get worse. A child with a bunion will probably need treatment at some point in their life. Before correcting the bump with bunion surgery, there’s a few things you’ll want to consider first.

  • If the child’s bones are still growing. Different types of traditional bunion surgery require breaking the bone and then resetting it with plates and screws. Children who are still growing have open growth plates that could interfere with the procedure, although traditional surgery is not recommended.

  • Conservative treatment options that can help manage the pain. These include wearing the right kind of shoes to accommodate and not aggravate the bunion, getting fitted for custom orthotics, physical therapy, or wearing splints at night.


Why Not Perform Surgery On Children Right Away?


The New York podiatrists at Adler Footcare don’t recommend bunion surgery as the first treatment option for children because many children are afraid to undergo surgery. They are also very active and it takes time to heal after surgery. However, sometimes a bunion can be bad enough that it causes the child to stop participating in activities altogether. If the pain is bad enough then treatment may be the best option.


While surgery isn’t a treatment to jump right into, if a bunion is present at a young age the child can benefit from a treatment like HyProCure®.

Are There Other Treatment Options Besides Bunion Surgery?


Yes! Before being considered for surgery, a New York podiatrist at Adler Footcare will evaluate your child to see if they are a viable candidate for the HyProCure® procedure, a titanium stent that is placed into the naturally occurring space between the ankle bone and heel bone to keep the ankle from rolling inward and the foot outward, correcting over-pronation and foot misalignment.


Misaligned feet can cause a number of common foot problems – like bunions – and pain in other areas of the body, such as the knees, hips, back, and neck.


They HyProCure® procedure is safe for children and adults. It’s an outpatient procedure that uses a minimally invasive technique, meaning it’s done by making a very small incision the size of a pinprick. Rarely does the stent need to be replaced. Patients are back in their own shoes within 3 to 5 days following the procedure, which is great for children because they are so active. The hardest part of the recovery will be to refrain from running and jumping for 4 to 6 weeks so the stent has time to settle into place.


Adler Footcare is classified as a Center of Excellence for HyProCure® implantation, by the Graham International Implant Institute, because of the safety, expertise and experience offered to patients. At Adler Footcare we believe feet shouldn’t hurt and neither should their treatment.


For more information about bunions in children or to find out if your child is a candidate for the HyProCure® procedure, contact us here at Adler Footcare.

 Find out if you are a HyProCure Candidate- Free Assessment


Topics: Bunion, Foot Care, foot pain