The Trouble with Bunions


Bunions are one of the most common foot deformities and are a problem frequently seen in a podiatrist’s office. The origin “bunion” is from the French “buignon” which translates as “bump on the head.” The bunions that we are familiar with occur on the feet, with the big toe being the usual location. A similar, smaller bump that occurs on the outside of the littlest toe is called a bunionette, and is caused by similar tendon and ligament imbalances.

The telltale signs that you have a bunion

·         There is a hard, bony lump usually on the outside of the big toe joint

·         The big toe will point towards the other toes instead of straight ahead due to a structural abnormality in the joint

·         The skin on top of the bump will be redder and darker than the surrounding skin.

·         There may be reddish, thickened skin where the big toe and second toe overlap which is a reaction to the friction in the area

The pain caused by bunions

Bunions are most painful when tight shoes are worn, increasing friction and pressure, so avoid wearing high heeled shoes. Some of the pain symptoms and side effects of bunions include:

·         Redness and swelling

·         Numbness

·         A burning sensation

·         Tender skin that is very sensitive to touch

Untreated bunions may cause future problems

As the deformity of the big toe continues to push into your other toes over time, the overall structural mechanics of the foot are adversely changed. The ligaments, tendons, and muscles become more painful, possibly leading to metatarsalgia, calluses, and arthritis.

Treatment options for bunions

A variety of conservative treatments including being fitted for proper shoes, taking ibuprofen for pain, proper use of custom orthotic inserts, splints, and foot exercises can all be helpful. For more severe cases, a surgical removal of the bunion and realignment of the toes may be required for complete relief.

It is important to make an appointment with your foot doctor in the first stages of bunion development in order to limit or prevent future complications. At Fit Feet for Life, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies and years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including heel pain, sports injuries, toe deformities, nail fungus, and plantar warts.  Bonnie Sanchez, DPM, and Gregory Cook, DPM, provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area at our five offices conveniently located in Sun City Center, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and our two Tampa locations. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.