Foot & Ankle Procedures & Services

Bunions & Bunionettes

A bunion is a foot deformity characterized by a number of common signs and symptoms:
• A large, bony bump forms along the inside of the foot, at the base of the big toe.
• The big toe itself drifts out of position, with the tip of the big toe pushing toward (and sometimes even overtop of) the second toe.
• In most cases, the first metatarsal bone (which links the big toe to the tarsal bones of the midfoot) is also shifted outward, upward, and rotated from its normal position.

Bunions are progressive, meaning that without treatment the bunion will only get worse with time. As the condition becomes more severe, it may become harder and harder to fit into normal shoes, and harder and harder to perform daily tasks without pain.
Calluses, corns, blisters, and other painful skin irritations may develop in spots where the foot rubs against the inside of your shoe, or where toes rub against one another.

What Causes Bunions?
The vast majority of bunions are believed to be genetically inherited to at least some degree. Essentially, you were likely born with a certain foot shape or structure that is prone to developing the kinds of joint instability that ultimately lead to bunion formation.
This is why bunions tend to run in families. If several close family members also have or had bunions, there’s a good chance you will too—although it’s not a certainty!

What about wearing high heels or tight shoes? Different doctors and researchers actually disagree over whether wearing bad shoes can actually cause a bunion in a “normal” foot without there also being a genetic, structural component at the same time.

However, it does seem pretty clear that poor shoes can “trigger” the early formation of bunions if you are already predisposed to getting them, and they can definitely make an existing bunion more painful and develop at a faster rate.

Do All Bunions Require Surgery?
No, not necessarily. But if you want to prevent surgery, or at least delay it as long as you possibly can, it’s essential that you seek treatment as early as possible. This means before you even start to notice any painful symptoms or difficulties wearing shoes.

In these early stages, we can often use conservative therapies like taping, splinting, physical therapy, shoe changes, and custom orthotics to keep your feet comfortable and allow you to continue your regular activities unimpeded.

However, once the bunion starts to cause daily pain or keeps you from participating in activities you used to enjoy, surgery is usually inevitable. However, it’s not all bad news, because our office specializes in a sophisticated form of bunion surgery that offers much faster recovery and better long-term results than conventional approaches! Our approach is to get you back on your feet as fast as possible. If you are suffering from bunion pain, call us today!

A bunionette, also known as a tailor’s bunion, is similar, except it develops at the base of the fifth toe instead of the first toe. Treatments are similar to those of bunions. Think you’re suffering from a bunionette? Call us today for a consultation.


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