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FAQs About Bunions

Could your foot problems be due to a bunion? Help is on the way!

A bunion is a fairly common foot ailment; however, just because you have one doesn’t mean that you have to just put up with the pain and discomfort. Learn more about this condition and how your Merrimack Valley Foot Specialists may be able to help provide the relief you’ve been looking for.

What is a bunion?

A bunion is a bony bump that originates at a toe’s joint. While any toe can be affected, bunions are most often found at the base of the big toe.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of a bunion are:

A large, hard protrusion at the base of the big toe
Localized pain and swelling
Soreness and redness around the affected toe
Difficulty moving the big toe

If you are experiencing chronic foot pain, decreased mobility and a visible bump on the joint of the big toe, then it’s time you visited your foot doctor for proper care.

What causes a bunion to form?

A bunion forms when weight isn’t distributed evenly on the joints of the feet. Over time this causes the joint to become unstable and form a hard lump. A bunion may be the result of a congenital foot deformity, a past injury or arthritis. There is also a debate as to whether wearing tight, high-heeled shoes could also cause a bunion to form.

What treatment options are available to me?

There are many conservative options that you can try to help alleviate your bunion symptoms. Some of the most common options include:


Wearing shoe inserts or custom orthotics (which your podiatrist can prescribe for you)
Only wearing shoes that fit comfortably and give your toes room to move
Splinting or taping the foot so it’s in the proper position
Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like Tylenol or Aleve
Taking prescription medication or cortisone injections may also reduce pain and swelling, particularly if symptoms are more severe
Applying a wrapped ice pack to the bunion to reduce swelling and discomfort
Can a bunion be removed?

While the treatment options above are designed to reduce and even eliminate the pain you are experiencing, they are not designed to remove or get rid of the bunion. The only way to truly get rid of a bunion is to have it surgically removed, and surgery is not often recommended until you have exhausted all other treatment options and still haven’t experienced any relief.

Will a bunion get worse if left untreated?

Bunions are known to increase over time, but it will be hard to predict when a bunion will get larger. When you come in to see your foot doctor we may be able to determine just how large your bunion may become over time.

Contact your Podiatrist at Merrimack Valley Foot Specialists.

A bunion doesn’t have to rule your life. Turn to your Merrimack Valley Foot Specialists podiatrist to find the answers you need to treat your bunion symptoms effectively.

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