Bunions are a common foot issue that can cause severe pain and discomfort. But what exactly is a bunion? It’s anpainful bunion foot bump enlargement of the joint at the base of your big toe, caused by inflammation or misalignment. It’s not just a cosmetic problem; bunions can affect how you stand, walk, and even wear shoes. This article will provide information on causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options for this bump on the side of your foot.

Unfortunately, bunions don’t go away without proper treatment – but with the right care from your doctor or podiatrist, you’ll be able to manage them more easily over time.

It’s important to understand the different types of treatments available for managing bunions so you can pick one that works best for you. Read on to learn about ways you can reduce pain and get back to living life comfortably with properly-treated bunions!

What Are Bunions?

A bunion is a deviation at the base of the big toe, also known as hallux valgus. It’s caused by the displacement of the first phalanx and can lead to significant pain and discomfort in the foot and ankle.  The joint capsule stretches, causing an increased angle between the first two toes and calluses may form over the protrusion. A smaller version of the same problem can happen at the base of the pinky toe and is called a tailor’s bunion or bunionette.

Who Gets Bunions

It’s important to know who is most prone to developing bunions, as this helps in being able to take preventative measures. While anyone can develop a bunion, certain people are more susceptible than others. Women are 10 times more likely to get them than men as wearing high heels or narrow shoes that don’t fit properly increases the risk of getting them. Additionally, those with flat feet have an increased chance of developing a bony bump due to misalignment of the bones. Some people have a genetic predisposition to weakness in the toe joints so it won’t matter if they wear the wrong shoes or not.

Etiology: What Causes a Bunion

There are several factors that can contribute to bunions forming. Foot mechanics, such as flat feet or high arches, cause increased stress on certain areas of the foot and can lead to bunions over time. An overly tight Achilles tendon can limit ankle flexion which can put stress on the toes. The shape of the head of the first metatarsal determines the security of the metatarsophalangeal joint: the rounder the head the less stable to joint. If any of the four muscles crossing over the joint are tight it can cause an imbalance in the joint.

Additionally, ill-fitting shoes with narrow toe boxes often put extra pressure on toes and encourage a misaligned big toe joint slowly over time. Lastly, activity level is another major factor – those who participate in activities that involve excessive use of their feet are more likely to develop bunions than those who do not actively exercise or move regularly.

Signs And Symptoms

xray to diagnosis bunionA bunion is a bony lump on the side of the bottom of the great toe. Bunion pain is typically caused by bursitis, inflammation of the bursa, that develops. Bunions can cause swelling, redness, and/or difficulty moving the big toe. The deformity may also lead to irritation from shoe pressure and friction, causing calluses or corns. Those with bunions may experience increased discomfort when wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow for their feet.

Bunions are especially common in women, although they may form in anyone. To diagnose a bunion, foot and ankle surgeons typically examine the patient’s foot while having them stand up or walk around. X rays are often used to evaluate the severity of the condition as well as any other foot problems such as arthritis.

Bunion Treatment

Now that we have discussed the signs and symptoms of bunions, let’s turn out attention to treatment. Most nonsurgical treatments involve reducing pain and inflammation while preventing or correcting changes in the structure of the foot gradually over time. The American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine recommends using toe spacers or a splint at night between your big toe and second toe as a way to reduce pressure on the big toe. Additionally, patients should choose shoes that fit properly, with enough room for their toes, so as not to further aggravate the condition. Wearing the right kind of shoe can help minimize discomfort. In some cases, nonsteroidal over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may be prescribed for symptom relief.

Some other methods of treatment include exercises and massage. Range of motion stretches, traction, and frictionsplint to wear at night around the area are all good to do in small doses for pain, but they will not permanently realign the toe. Elevating the foot can help a swollen and painful foot as well as a corticosteroid shot around the bunion. If too much damage has been done and pain becomes too severe, you may need surgery called a bunionectomy may be indicated to reshape the foot bones and joints.

Is Massage Good For Bunions?

For some people, massage may be beneficial for relieving bunion deformity symptoms. In addition to reducing pain and swelling, massage can also help reduce tension around the affected area and improve mobility by loosening tight muscles and tendons surrounding it. It is important to note that those with severe cases should avoid massaging their bunions as it could exacerbate pain levels or even worsen existing deformities.

A good massage therapist will take into consideration your current level of comfort before beginning treatment so they don’t aggravate any underlying issues or make you feel worse than you did before starting. Alongside massage therapy, treatments such as orthotics, medications, rest and ice packs may be recommended to relieve symptoms associated with this issue while helping prevent further complications from developing in future.

The most supportive type of massage to get when in a flare-up is lymphatic drainage. Deep tissue massage, Swedish massage and trigger point therapy are also great but not directly to the affected area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Bunions Painful?

doctor palpating a bunionMany people may be wondering if bunions are painful. Generally, the answer is yes. They can cause a lot of pain and discomfort for those who suffer from them. The severity of the pain depends on how severe the first metatarsal bone displacement is.

The most common symptom associated with a bunion is redness, swelling, and soreness around your big toe joint. This can cause intense throbbing or burning pain along with stiffness in the area. Painful corns can also form due to rubbing against shoes that are tight when walking or standing longer than usual periods of time.

Bunions get worse over time, so it’s important to see your doctor when you first notice symptoms. They will be able to evaluate your condition and determine which treatment option is best suited for you based on its severity level. Even though bunions can be quite painful at times, there are steps one can take to alleviate their symptoms and prevent further damage from occurring.

Does Wearing Certain Shoes Cause Bunions?

Wearing certain types of shoes can have a major effect on the development and progression of bunions. Specifically, wearing tight or narrow-fitting shoes can put pressure on the front of your foot which leads to the formation of bunions over time. Additionally, high heel shoes may also contribute to this condition due to the way they shift weight onto the ball of your foot causing unnatural deformity in the joint.

It is important to note that although some footwear has been linked to bunion formation, it does not necessarily mean that any particular shoe will cause a person’s bunion to worsen. Factors such as genetics and lifestyle choices can play an equally significant role in how quickly bunion symptoms progress. To reduce your risk for how a bunion develops, you should wear properly fitted footwear with plenty of room for your toes and provide adequate arch support.

Are There Any Exercises To Prevent Bunions?

Exercising can be a great way to help stop bunions from occurring. To reduce your risk of developing bunions, it’s important to strengthen the muscles around the toes and feet through exercises.

Stretches like ankle circles, wall calf stretches, and cross-leg toe pulls will all work together to keep the muscles surrounding your toes strong and flexible. This prevents them from becoming too tight or imbalanced which can lead to a bunion forming. Additionally, strengthening exercises like toe curls with a towel or resistance band or standing calf raises, will also help build strength in this area.

Finally, adding weight-bearing activities such as walking or running into your routine can also help build muscle strength throughout your entire body including those around your toes. So if you want to avoid getting bunions down the line, don’t forget about incorporating some simple yet effective exercises into your daily routine!

Are Bunions Hereditary?

When it comes to understanding the cause of bunions, one question that often arises is whether or not they are hereditary. The short answer to this query is yes and no. While genetics can play a role, there are other risk factors at play as well.

Studies have found that having family members with bunions increases your likelihood of getting them too. In addition, some foot types are more prone to developing bunions than others due to their shape and structure. For example, if you have an unusually flat arch that causes your feet to roll inward when you walk — known as overpronation — then you may be more likely to form a bump on the side of your foot.

That said, non-genetic factors can certainly contribute to bunion formation just as much as heredity does. Poorly fitting shoes can put extra pressure on the toes and force them into unnatural positions, leading to pain and deformity in the front of the foot. Additionally, repetitive stress from activities like running or ballet dancing could also increase your chances of forming a bunion even without any genetic influence whatsoever.

It’s clear that both genetics and lifestyle choices can affect the development of bunions so it’s important for people who are worried about theirs to take preventive measures before symptoms arise. Wearing comfortable shoes with adequate support and stretching regularly will help reduce the risk of issues related to bunion formation in everyone regardless of their family history.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Bunion Surgery?

 foot massageRecovering from bunion surgery can be a long process, depending on the procedure and the severity of the case. Generally, it takes anywhere between several weeks to several months to recover fully. During this time, patients need to take extra care and follow their doctor’s advice for proper healing.

The recovery period is typically divided into two stages: initial recovery and full recovery. The initial phase consists of rest and minimal physical activity as advised by the physician. This helps in reducing swelling and pain around the area that underwent surgical intervention. After the first few weeks, patients can start wearing comfortable shoes with wide toe boxes or orthopedic sandals which help reduce pressure on the affected area. Depending on how well they are progressing, doctors may allow them to return to work after a couple of weeks or so.

During the full recovery stage, patients should continue taking measures such as wearing appropriate footwear and performing exercises prescribed by their doctor to speed up rehabilitation. Furthermore, attending regular follow-up appointments ensures that there is no recurrence and that any further damage is prevented. With proper treatment and adequate rest, most people can expect complete resolution within several months post-surgery. Massage is great for post-surgery to prevent scar tissue from adhering to the underlying tissues.


Bunions are painful and can be caused by wearing certain types of shoes and women are more likely to get them due to the shape and structure of the bones in the foot. Fortunately, there are exercises that can help to prevent them from forming. Bunions are also known to run in families, so if you notice any signs or symptoms it’s best to get checked out right away.

Doctors recommend surgery for those who are suffering from severe pain and discomfort due to bunions, however recovery time depends on the individual and procedure performed. Generally speaking, full recovery may take up to 6 weeks before normal activities such as walking can resume without pain.

If you’re experiencing any discomfort due to bunion formation then it might be worth getting checked out by a medical professional. Taking steps early on could save you a lot of hassle down the line! Call us to schedule your massage! 614-604-6358