What is a Bunion and What Are My Bunion Treatment Options?

Posted by Dr. Jeffrey L. Adler

Mar 26, 2013 4:18:00 PM

No one wants to hear that they have a bunion.

bunion xrayWhen you hear the word, bunion, the stereotypical words "old" and "deformed" often come to mind. However, bunions are quite common and there are many bunion treatment options, so there is no need to fret if you think you have a bunion or have been diagnosed with one.

A bunion is an area of new bone growth at the base of the big toe (first metatarsal head). The new bone growth often creates a very painful, swollen bump. This bump is caused by pressure over time activating bone growing cells on the side of the first metatarsal, which then causes your big toe to push against your other toes. This results in your big toe joint being forced in the opposite direction from which it is accustomed. Bunions are more common in women and in older people, but are found in people of all ages.


There are several different causes of bunions. The primary cause of bunions is heredity. If your family history has bunion struggles, there are higher odds that you might too so be sure to thank them. Wearing shoes that don't fit well and are too tight can also be a cause. An injury to the foot may also result in a bunion. It is important to have the cause of your bunion diagnosed so that when you are choosing your bunion treatment options you choose the treatment that will correct the problem, without worrying about the bunion returning. 


Bunion treatment options run the gamut from very conservative treatment to surgical intervention, depending on the severity of your bunion. However, the only way to correct the deformity is surgery and usually traditional surgery is used as a last resort. However there is another surgery option called minimally invasive surgery. This type of surgery uses small instrumentation to make tiny incisions, requires no stitches on the skin or wires and pins in the bones, usually causes limited discomfort, and results in a quick return to normal activity.

If the deformity is not extreme and the bunion is not causing a lot of pain or stiffness, other bunion treatment options should be considered. One way to control and minimize pain caused by a bunion is the use of painkillers. This could be over the counter such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol. If you need a stronger painkiller, you can get a prescription from your doctor. You could also get a cortisone shot to reduce inflammation and therefore, reduce pain.

Sometimes something as simple as changing your shoes to a shoe that is more roomy can provide relief from pain. Tight, narrow heels are definitely not a bunion friendly shoe and should be avoided. You could also try using a bunion pad to help prevent your foot from rubbing on your shoe, causing pain. These pads can be bought at your local drugstore. Another option would be to get shoe support such as orthotics, which helps to even out the pressure over your foot, reducing the pain of the bunion. These can be bought over the counter but if you have a bunion a custom made orthotic would produce the best results.

So remember, if you have a bunion, don’t be embarrassed and in pain. Instead, try to remember you and your bunion are not alone.

Have you ever had to try one of the bunion treatment options above?


Related Articles: 

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

Before Worrying About Bunion Surgery Take a Step in Different Shoes 

Top 3 Things a Bunion Surgery Center Should Have 

How High Heels Could Lead to Bunion Surgery and Other Foot Problems 

Bunion Surgery for the “Mature” Adult 

Athletes Should Take a Time Out for Bunion Surgery

How Do You Get Bunions? 

Treat your Bothersome Bunion with Bunion Surgery


Topics: Bunion, Bunion Surgery