You might be wondering how that big bump, otherwise known as a bunion, on the side of your first toe managed to get there. Bunions reflect a change in the boney structure of the foot over time. In other words, bunions tend to be progressive. As the big toe starts to turn in towards the second toe, a bump is formed with the changing angle of the foot. While bunions can be easily seen, some people might also experience pain with them over time.

But what actually causes a bunion? It’s all in the structure of the foot. Bunions tend to be inherited. So, while you aren’t passing that bump from mother to daughter you are in fact passing the certain biomechanics of your feet that might make you prone to developing a bunion. The most common symptom experienced with bunions is pain, because you will generally recognize this if you are wearing shoes that are rubbing against this site. Additionally, there might be redness, inflammation, or numbness as well. 

If you might be thinking that it’s time to visit your local podiatrist to have this issue assessed, you might also be thinking – well I’ve basically already diagnosed it myself! I can see the bump right there! I know how to read WebMD! Your podiatrist, though, will be able to take some x‐rays of your feet to be able to figure out the extent of the bunion deformity and where to take treatment from there. Which brings us to treatment. What can you do to treat these pesky bunions? There are two stages of treatment: mainly, conservative (or non‐surgical) and surgical. Nonsurgical works to help with the pain, but won’t correct the deformity. Some methods include changing shoe gear, medications, icing, padding, and orthotics. Surgical intervention should be considered when conservative methods have failed and no longer seem to be an option. With many treatment options available, your bunions won’t leave you singing the blues for long!


William E. Donahue, DPM, FACFAS


Jennifer Zienkowski-Zubel, DPM