A bunion is a bony enlargement that develops on the side of the big toe joint, and occurs when the big toe starts to push against the next toe. This creates a large gap in the toe joint, which becomes filled in with bony deposits, leading to the large bump. It is a form of arthritis, and usually reduces the
motion within the big toe joint.

The skin over the bunion usually becomes red and sore since it is constantly irritated by tight fitting shoes. Smaller bunions (bunionettes) can also develop on the joint of your little toe with similar symptoms.


In many cases, the fungus that affects the toenails spreads to the areas between and around the toes creating a condition known as athlete’s foot (tinea pedis).


Bunions develop when the forces of bearing weight falls unevenly on your feet. This causes the tendons and ligaments of the feet to stretch, which lessens their ability to stabilize the foot. When your big toe becomes unstable, the bursa surrounding the toe joint can become irritated and inflammed.

A bursa is a small fluid filled sac that protects your bodies joints from impaction forces. The inflammation and thickening of your big toe’s bursa creates an improper bone formation that forces the big toe out of alignment, causes great discomfort, and creates the bunion.

Genetically inherited foot types, foot injuries, deformities present at birth, and improper footwear may also contribute to bunion formation.


  • ​A large bump on the outside base of your big toe
  • Swelling, redness and pain surrounding your big toe joint
  • Thickening of the skin at the base of your big toe


Nonsurgical treatments that may provide relief and prevent worsening include:

  • Changing shoes: Wearing roomier and accommodative footwear, such as Orthopedic Shoes, can provide relief.
  • Night splinting: A comfortable method that retrains the tendons and ligaments to properly stabilize the big
    toe joint.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID): Try ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce pain and swelling. Use as indicated on bottle.
  • ​Padding and bunion guards: Over-the- counter gel pads and bunions guards can provide effective pain relief
    throughout the day.

Surgical and other treatment options include:

  • ​Cold laser phototherapy: Low level light therapy (LLLT) is a painless procedure that encourages healing of damaged tissue, and provides temporary pain relief.
  • Surgical removal and realignment: In severe cases, you may require surgical correction of the big toe joint.
    This involves the removal of the swollen tissue and the realigning of the big toe joint. Orthotics will be required
    following the procedure to prevent reoccurrence.

Contact us today to see how our Foot Specialists can alleviate foot pain caused by a bunion.