A bunion (also called hallux valgus) is a bump by the big toe joint. An imbalance in the muscles that attach to this joint causes the big toe to get pulled towards the other toes.  As the toe is pulled over, forces on the metatarsal (long bone behind the toe) cause it to move the other way, creating the appearance of a bump. Bunions are a progressive deformity. They are often hereditary and are not caused by shoes.  However, wearing narrow or pointed toe shoes can make your symptoms worse. Your foot and ankle surgeon will likely order an x-ray to better look at your foot.

Symptoms:

  • A bump on the inside of your foot at the big toe joint
  • Redness over the bump
  • Dull, achy pain or soreness at the bump or in the big toe joint
  • Possible numbness or burning in the big toe

Non-Surgical Treatment:

-Shoes: Choose shoes with a wide toe box to take pressure off your bunion.

-Activity: Avoid or modify activities that cause bunion pain.

-Ice: Icing the area several times a day can decrease pain and inflammation.

-Medications: Oral NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen can decrease pain and inflammation.

-Orthotics: Shoe inserts can sometimes be helpful in reducing your symptoms.

Surgical Treatment:

It is time to discuss surgery when non-surgical treatment no longer relieves bunion pain, and when your pain interferes with your daily activities. Together, you and your foot and ankle surgeon can decide if surgery is right for you. The goal is to reduce pain and deformity. Choosing a procedure depends on the severity of your deformity, age, activity, x-ray findings, and other factors. The recovery period depends on the procedure performed.  For a simple bunionectomy, you will be able to walk the same day as surgery.  For more complicated procedures, you may be unable to place any weight on your foot for 8-12 weeks.