The Most Common Types of Bunions and Treatment Options

Do you have a painful, bony bump near the outside of your big toe? It might be a bunion. Bunions are common foot deformities that develop over time, and they can cause pain and structural changes in your foot. 

Bunions are characterized by swelling and pain in the joint at the base of your big toe. Many people with bunions inherited a foot structure that makes bunions more likely. However, years of wearing tight shoes with pointed or narrow toes can also cause bunions. 

Bunion pain can keep you from living an active lifestyle, but it shouldn’t have to. Lisa Burson, DPM, and Joe Aoun, DPM, and our team at The Foot & Ankle Specialists offer solutions for all types of bunions. We’re here to diagnose your bunion and help you find the right treatment to get you back on your feet.

Types of bunions

Most bunions form on the side of your big toe, but they can vary in size and shape. Small bunions may be barely noticeable and only cause pain if you spend long periods of time walking or standing.

As a bunion gets larger, you might notice skin irritation. Larger bunions are more likely to rub against shoes, which can cause redness and increasing pain. Very large bunions can make it difficult or even impossible to find shoes that fit comfortably.

Some bunions are accompanied by arthritis in the big toe joint, or hallux limitus, a condition that limits the range of motion of your toe joint. Stiffness can make your pain — and the bunion itself — worse.

Bunionettes, or tailor’s bunions, are bunions that form on the outside near your pinky toe. They’re generally much smaller than regular bunions, but they have similar characteristics. Bunionettes can cause foot pain and bone deformities that cause your pinky toe to drift toward your fourth toe.

Nonsurgical treatments for bunions

When you visit The Foot & Ankle Specialists for bunion pain, our team will generally determine the type of bunion that you have with a visual exam. Often, Dr. Burson and Dr. Aoun may order additional tests, like digital X-rays to further assess your foot health.

If you have a small bunion or a bunionette, we often start treatment with nonsurgical options. Conservative treatment options that can help relieve bunion pain include:

People with small bunions can find significant relief by wearing wider, comfortable shoes that give toes space to move. Padding bunions or wearing custom orthotics help relieve pressure on the joint to prevent inflammation and pain.

Conservative treatment can help bunions from getting larger, and many people find adequate relief from discomfort with a combination of these treatments. 

Surgery for bunions

Dr. Burson and Dr. Aoun may recommend bunion surgery if conservative treatments aren’t effective for your bunion. When a bunion is severe, it can cause intense pain and contribute to deformities in your foot.

Our team is proud to offer the latest in bunion removal surgical techniques. Depending on the type of bunion you have, surgery can:

It may take several weeks to fully recover from bunion surgery, but it’s often quite effective at eliminating bunion symptoms. Follow our team’s guidelines for recovery after you get bunion surgery, and you’ll find that your pain is significantly reduced, your shoes fit better, and your life is more comfortable.

Find top-tier bunion care at The Foot & Ankle Specialists and get back to enjoying your active lifestyle with less foot pain. Book your first appointment online today.  

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