Dr. Nadheer K M (AIIMS)MBBS

November 29, 2018

March 06, 2020


What are bunions?

A bunion is a bump that forms at the base of the big toe. It looks like a protrusion that is formed as a result of the big toe leaning more towards the second toe. Bunions may not cause any discomfort to some, while for others it could be extremely painful. It is common for those with bunions to have similar formations at the base of the little toe as well.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Detecting a bunion is easy. Here are some things you will notice:

  • Inflammation and redness at the joint of the big toe
  • Pain which is either persistent or intermittent
  • Calluses and/or corns in the area between the first two toes
  • A bulge at the outer base of the big toe

What are its main causes?

A variety of factors may contribute to the occurrence of bunions. These include:

  • Injury to the foot
  • Inherited deformity
  • Other deformities at birth
  • Wearing very tight footwear or very high heels (although it is a debatable cause)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

How is it diagnosed and treated?

An examination of the foot is usually sufficient for the doctor to diagnose a bunion. However, doctors may occasionally opt for an X-ray of the foot to assess the extent of damage and the exact cause of the bunion.

 Treatment of bunions may range from conservative methods to surgery. The approach depends on the severity of the condition and the kind of pain experienced. Treatment methods include:

  • Switching to more comfortable footwear
  • Using support pads, tape or splints on the foot to help ease pain and give more support
  • Using inserts in shoes to ease pressure on the area
  • Icing the area to relieve redness and soreness
  • Surgery may be recommended to:
    • Straighten and re-align the toe joint after removing a portion of the bone
    • Remove the swollen tissue surrounding the joint of the big toe
    • Fuse the bones of the affected joint


  1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Bunions
  2. Orthoinfo [internet]. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Rosemont IL. Bunions.
  3. Healthdirect Australia. Bunions. Australian government: Department of Health
  4. Nidirect. Bunion. UK. [internet].
  5. Health Link. Bunions. British Columbia. [internet].