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Anatomy of Bunions

A bunion forms when the bones in the front part of the foot move out of alignment. This misalignment creates a bump on the side of the big toe joint, which can become swollen and painful. Over time, the angle of the big toe may increase, further exacerbating the bunion and leading to additional foot problems.

Causes and Risk Factors

Several factors can contribute to the development of bunions:

  • Genetics: A family history of bunions can increase your risk, indicating a hereditary predisposition to the condition.
  • Foot Structure: Inherited foot shapes and structures, such as flat feet or low arches, can make bunions more likely.
  • Footwear: Wearing tight, narrow, or high-heeled shoes can put excessive pressure on the big toe joint, promoting bunion formation.
  • Arthritis: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation and damage to the joints, leading to bunions.
  • Injury: Foot injuries can alter the mechanics of the foot and contribute to bunion development.


Bunions can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • A noticeable bump on the side of the foot at the base of the big toe
  • Persistent pain or tenderness around the big toe joint, especially when walking or wearing shoes
  • Inflammation and redness around the bunion
  • Thickened skin on the toes or foot due to friction
  • Reduced ability to move the big toe and discomfort when trying to do so

Diagnostic Process

Diagnosing bunions involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests:

  • Medical History: Discussing your symptoms, footwear habits, and any family history of foot problems with your healthcare provider.
  • Physical Examination: Assessing the alignment of the big toe and the severity of the bunion.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays may be used to determine the extent of the deformity and to check for arthritis or other issues in the foot.

Treatment Options

Conservative Care

For mild to moderate bunions, non-surgical treatments can help manage symptoms and prevent further progression. One of the first steps in conservative care is changing your footwear. Opting for shoes with a wide-toe box, low heels, and good arch support can significantly reduce the pressure on the bunion and alleviate discomfort.

Additionally, using orthotics, whether custom-made or over-the-counter inserts, can help distribute weight more evenly across your feet and correct alignment issues. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be effective in reducing pain and inflammation associated with bunions.

Surgical Treatment

If conservative treatments do not provide relief and the bunion is causing significant pain or impairing mobility, surgery may be necessary. A bunionectomy is a procedure that removes the swollen tissue and part of the bone to straighten the big toe.

At Excel Health, our surgical team employs the latest techniques to ensure optimal outcomes and a swift recovery. We tailor each surgical plan to the individual needs of our patients, prioritizing pain relief and functional improvement.

Living with Bunions

Managing bunions requires a combination of proper footwear, lifestyle adjustments, and medical care. Regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider, adhering to recommended treatments, and making healthy choices can help you maintain an active lifestyle and reduce bunion-related discomfort.

If you experience symptoms of bunions, contact Excel Health for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan. Our dedicated team is here to support you every step of the way, ensuring you receive the highest quality care for your feet.

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