A bunion is a bone deformity caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base and side of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). Bunions form when the toe moves out of place. The enlargement and its protuberance cause friction and pressure as they rub against footwear. The growing enlargement or protuberance then causes more irritation or inflammation. In some cases, the big toe moves toward the second toe and rotates or twists, which is known as Hallux Abducto Valgus. Bunions can also lead to other toe deformities, such as hammertoe.

Causes: Wearing shoes that are too tight. Bunions are not hereditary, but they do tend to run in families, usually because of a faulty foot structure. Foot injuries, neuromuscular problems,flat feet, and pronated feet can contribute to their formation. It is estimated that bunions occur in 33 percent of the population in Western countries.


Many people with bunions suffer from discomfort and pain from the constant irritation, rubbing, and friction of the enlargement against shoes. The skin over the toe becomes red and tender. Because this joint flexes with every step, the bigger the bunion gets, the more it hurts to walk. Over time, bursitis or arthritis may set in, the skin on the bottom of the foot may become thicker, and everyday walking may become difficult—all contributing to chronic bunion pain.


Because they are bone deformities, bunions do not resolve by themselves. The goal for bunion treatment is twofold: first, to relieve the pressure and pain caused by irritations, and second to stop any progressive growth of the enlargement. Commonly used methods for reducing pressure and pain caused by bunions include:

  • The use of protective padding, often made from felt material, to eliminate the friction against shoes and help alleviate inflammation and skin problems.
  • Removal of corns and calluses on the foot.
  • Changing to carefully fitted footwear designed to accommodate the bunion and not contribute toward its growth.
  • Orthotic devices—both over-the-counter and custom made—to help stabilize the joint and place the foot in the correct position for walking and standing.
  • Exercises to maintain joint mobility and prevent stiffness or arthritis.
  • Splints for nighttime wear to help the toes and joint align properly. This is often recommended for adolescents with bunions, because their bone development may still be adaptable.

Surgical Procedures:

Depending on the size of the enlargement, misalignment of the toe, and pain experienced, conservative treatments may not be adequate to prevent progressive damage from bunions. In these cases, bunion surgery, known as a bunionectomy, may be advised to remove the bunion and realign the toe.


Wearing appropriate fitting shoes and custom orthotics.

When to Contact a Podiatrist:

If you experience pain, swelling, redness or shoe gear irritation.

before bunionectomy

after bunionectomy

bunions & bunion surgery

< back to services

< back to services

© 2016 Associated Podiatrists, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Will I have pain after surgery?
    Generally, patients have little to no pain after bunion surgery. Those that do control it with pain medication and it generally resolves within a week. We also use cooling devices that circulate ice water around your foot and help decrease swelling.
  • Will I have a scar?
    Yes. There is a small scar associated with bunion surgery. However, our doctors use very precise and cosmetic closure techniques that minimize any scaring, as can be seen in our before and after photos.
  • Can I walk?
    Most procedures do allow for immediate ambulation in a boot.
  • Can I have surgery on both feet at the same time?
    We generally advise against this as it severely limits your mobility and increases post surgical risks.
  • Do I have to stay overnight?
    Bunion surgery is an ambulatory, elective procedure. You have the surgery and are able to go home the same day, Usually, within a matter of hours.
  • How long until I can wear boots again? Heels?
    Most patients transition to a sneaker around 5-6 weeks after surgery and then boots and heels 8-10 weeks after. It is important to note that if you have limitation of motion before surgery, it will limey remain after. Realistic expectations about shoe gear are imperative to a successful procedure.
  • Will my bunion ever grow back/ re-form after the surgery?
    It is possible for a deformity to return. However, we minimize this by using stable fixation techniques that are both stable and lasting.
  • Does Insurance cover the cost of the surgery?
    Most insurances cover the cost of bunion surgery. You can consult with one of our office managers regarding your responsibilities and coverages.

what to expect after bunion surgery: