A bunion is a bump on the side of your foot at the joint where the big toe meets the rest of your foot. Anyone can develop a bunion. It may start as a small bump that develops over time, or you may have had bunions since you were young. As the bunion progresses, the bony structures change, which causes a prominence in the bone and thickens the surrounding tissues. You may also notice that the big toe drifts or migrates toward the second toe. Bunions can be painful and make it difficult to wear normal shoes.


Although the exact cause of some bunions is unknown, here are a few understood causes:

  • Inherited foot type 
  • Foot stress or injury
  • Deformities present at birth
  • Wearing shoes that are tight in the toe box contributes to the advancement of a bunion
  • Inflammatory types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Muscular dystrophies 

Risk Factors

Foot Structure

Certain foot types are prone to bunion formation. Paired with non-supportive shoes, these foot types are at risk for bunion development.

Wearing Improper Footwear

Shoes that are too tight, too narrow, or too pointed can contribute to the development of bunions. 


An inherited problem with the structure or anatomy of your foot could increase your risk of developing bunions.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Doctors typically diagnose bunions by physical examination. Assessing pain, numbness, or tingling on range of motion will give significant information for treatment options. X-rays are required to determine the type of surgical intervention, if any, required for relief of bunion pain.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Non-surgical treatment may be effective at reducing the pain and pressure that bunions cause. Some of these approaches are:

Changing Footwear

Wearing roomy, comfortable shoes that provide adequate space for your toes can help relieve the pain from bunions.


Padding and bunion splints can act as a buffer between your foot and your shoe.


Analgesics and anti-inflammatories can help control bunion pain. Cortisone injections may also help.

Shoe Inserts

Functional shoe inserts can help distribute the pressure of your foot evenly, which can reduce your symptoms and prevent the bunion from getting worse. Orthotic devices can provide support and help reduce bunion pain.

Applying Ice

After you have been on your feet for a long time, icing your foot can relieve soreness and swelling associated with a bunion.

Surgical Treatment

In cases where the bunion is painful or causes difficulty walking, surgery might be the best option for treatment. There are many possible procedures for bunions. They require an individual treatment plan based on symptoms and the condition. Some of the procedures include:

  • Removing the swollen tissue around the big toe joint
  • Removing part of the bone to straighten your big toe
  • Realigning one or more bones to correct the abnormal angle in the big toe joint
  • Fusing the bones of the affected joint
  • Clearing bone fragments from the big toe joint 

If you have a foot injury or a condition that’s getting worse, don’t live with the pain.

I had a great experience here. All the staff is friendly and responsive. Dr. Castle performed surgery on my bunion and four months later, I am healed and back to my favorite activities pain free!

  — Elizabeth Breiseth

Bunion Treatment at Keir Foot & Ankle Specialists

If a bunion is causing you pain or making it difficult to get around in Mt. Greenwood, Alsip, Chicago, or Beverly, you should make an appointment at Keir Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our experienced doctors will be able to diagnose a bunion and recommend the best treatment fit for your condition. WE ARE EXPERIENCED IN LAPOPLASTY.

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