What are Bunions?

  • Swollen, sore bump in joint that connects your big toe to your foot
  • Often caused by wearing narrow, tight shoes
  • Most treated without surgery

When your big toe presses against your adjacent toe, the joint of your big toe sometimes gets bigger and sticks out. A bony bump often forms on the joint at the base of the big toe. This is a bunion. The most common causes of bunions are:

  • Wearing tight, narrow shoes, so women are more likely to have bunions than men
  • Inheriting a condition that makes it more likely that you will develop bunions
  • Putting too much stress on your foot or a medical condition such as arthritis

Many people who develop bunions never need any medical treatment. However, red and sore skin over the bunion and dull to acute pain at the site of the bunion lead many to seek advice from their physician. It’s probably a good idea to see your physician if:

  • You have a bunion and experience continual big toe or foot pain
  • Have a visible big bump on your big toe joint
  • Experience decreased movement in your big toe or foot
  • Your ill-fitting shoes are causing pain and the visible signs of a bunion
  • If you have certain types of inflammatory arthritis

Our Treatment Approach

Lumin OrthoCARE foot specialists have help thousands of patients successfully deal with their bunions. Many bunions don’t require medical treatment, but there are cases where consultation with a physician is appropriate. Your foot specialist will:

  • Carefully examine your foot and big toe including observing range of motion and noting if there is any redness or swelling at the big toe joint
  • An X-ray of your foot may help your physician pinpoint the cause of your bunion and determine how severe it is
  • Treatment will depend on the amount of pain it is causing you and the severity of your condition.
  • Non-surgical treatment may include changing to better fitting shoes, over-the-counter pain relief medications and ice packs

If conservative treatment doesn’t provide relief, there are a variety of surgical techniques available to address your bunion issue. Lumin OrthoCARE foot specialists are experienced in all of these procedures:

  • Removing the swollen tissue surrounding the big toe joint
  • Straightening your big toe by removing part of the bone
  • Realigning the long bone between the back part of your foot and your big toe
  • Joining the bones of your big toe joint.

Depending on the type of surgery performed, recovery can be relatively short, or it can take weeks to months. Lumin OrthoCARE foot specialists recommend surgery only as a last resort, preferring to pursue conservative treatment.


Experts don’t agree on the cause of bunions, but some commonly accepted theories are:

  • Tight, narrow shoes
  • High heels
  • Certain types of arthritis
  • Heredity


  • A big bump on the outside of your big toe
  • Painful swelling, redness or soreness at your big toe joint
  • Thickening of the skin at the base of your big toe
  • Corns or calluses
  • Continual pain at the site of your big toe joint
  • Restricted movement of your big toe

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