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Bunions: What You Need To Know

Aug 8, 2023

Bunions are a common foot condition that can cause discomfort and affect daily activities. At Kalamazoo Podiatry, we understand the impact of bunions on your foot health and overall well-being. In this blog, we’ll delve into what bunions are, their symptoms, causes, risk factors, and available treatment options. By being informed about bunions, you can take proactive steps to manage this condition and seek appropriate care when needed.

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe, resulting in the joint moving out of place. This condition can cause the big toe to angle towards the other toes, leading to discomfort and difficulties in wearing certain footwear or even walking.

What are the Symptoms of a Bunion?

Recognizing the symptoms of a bunion is crucial for early detection and intervention. The common signs of a bunion include:

  • Bulging Bump: This noticeable bump on the outside of the big toe, at the base, is a result of the joint’s misalignment, causing the bone to protrude.
  • Swelling, Redness, and Soreness: The inflamed area will be around the joint of your big toe and may become tender and painful, especially during movement or while wearing tight shoes.
  • Corns and Calluses: The misalignment of the big toe can cause it to rub against the adjacent toe, leading to corns and calluses.
  • Ongoing or Intermittent Pain and Soreness: Bunions can cause persistent discomfort that may worsen over time if left untreated.
  • Limited Movement in Big Toe: As the bunion progresses, it can restrict the range of motion of the big toe making it painful to walk and continue the activities you love.

What Causes a Bunion?

While the exact cause of bunions is not always clear, several of the following factors can contribute to their development:

  • Inherited Foot Type: Individuals with a family history of bunions are more likely to develop the condition. Certain foot types inherited from parents can increase the risk of bunion formation.
  • Foot Stress or Injuries: Activities or occupations that place excessive stress on the feet or involve repetitive movements may contribute to the development of bunions, not to mention the trauma of dropping a heavy object on your feet.
  • Deformities Present at Birth: Some people may have foot deformities present from birth, making them more prone to developing bunions later in life.

What are the Risk Factors for a Bunion?

Several factors can increase the likelihood of developing bunions, including:

  • Constant Use of High Heel Shoes: Wearing high heels regularly can place additional pressure on the front of the foot, increasing the risk of bunion formation. Take it from us, high heels are not the best footwear, but you already knew that!
  • Ill-Fitting Shoes: Shoes that are too tight or narrow can force the toes into an unnatural position, contributing to bunion development.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Certain inflammatory conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, can lead to joint deformities, including bunions.
  • Hereditary: As mentioned earlier, a family history of bunions can make you more susceptible to developing them.

What are the Treatment Options?

Fortunately, there are various treatment options available to manage bunions and alleviate discomfort. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the bunion and the level of discomfort experienced. Some common treatment options include:

Changing to Wear More Comfortable Shoes

Switching to well-fitting, supportive shoes with a wide toe box can reduce pressure on the bunion and improve comfort. That means… no more high heels!


Applying pads or cushions over the bunion can help protect it from friction and alleviate pain.

Medications/Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage mild to moderate pain associated with bunions.

Custom Orthotics

Dr. Bredeweg can design custom orthotic inserts to provide additional support and alignment to the foot, which may help slow the progression of the bunion.

Physical Therapy

Certain exercises and stretches can improve the strength and flexibility of the foot and reduce discomfort associated with bunions.

Applying Ice

Icing the bunion can help reduce inflammation and ease the pain.

Toe Spacers

Toe spacers can help separate and align the toes, reducing the pressure on the bunion.

Bunion Splints

Bunion splints or cushions can help realign the joint and alleviate pain during movement.

Surgical Intervention

In severe cases where conservative treatments do not provide relief or the bunion is causing significant impairment, surgical intervention may be recommended. Bunion surgery aims to realign the bone and joint and restore proper foot function and Dr. Bredeweg will walk you through each step along the way.

Foot with bunion on white background

Contact Us Today:

At Kalamazoo Podiatry, we are dedicated to providing personalized foot care and finding the best treatment options for your bunions. If you’re experiencing discomfort or notice any symptoms of bunions, do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced podiatrist. Proper evaluation and early intervention can make a significant difference in managing bunions and preserving foot health.

When you visit us, we will conduct a thorough examination of your feet and take your medical history into account to develop a tailored treatment plan. Our team is committed to ensuring that you understand your condition and the available treatment options, empowering you to make informed decisions about your foot health.

Don’t let bunion pain ruin your day, come in and get the treatment you need to be free of bunion pain!

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