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A bunion is an enlarged bone on the side of the big toe that is angled outward. Depending on the severity of the bunion, the big toe may be angled mildly or sharply towards the other toes. Bunions often develop along with other foot problems including hammertoes, corns and calluses. If neglected, a bunion can become painful and interfere with standing and walking.

There are many causes of bunions including: heredity, foot injury, neuromuscular disorder, congenital deformity (a deformity that is present at birth), loose joint movement, abnormal foot motion while weight bearing and poorly fitting shoes.

Most bunions form as the big toe responds to abnormal pressure on foot joints. A common example is the foot rolling excessively inward during walking or pronation of the ankle and foot. Over time, this stress may cause the big toe to move towards the other toes. This puts pressure on the big toe joint and pushes it outward. Bunions may also develop along with inflammatory joint diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and gout.

  Surgery for bunions

A bunion is a bony growth on the base of the big toe that enlarges the joint. In a bunionectomy, the bump is removed and soft tissue that is too tight is released.

Bunions can also occur when the angle between the first and second toe (intermetatarsal angle) increases beyond normal. Sometimes bony growths may form, resulting in irritation and swelling. In a metatarsal head osteotomy, the bone behind the big toe is surgically cut and repositioned. Any bumps will be remolded. Afterwards, your podiatrist may recommend that you wear a surgical shoe or cast for about six weeks until the bone is healed. During the healing process, walking is advised, however, only in a surgical shoe or tennis shoe.

Severe structural bunions result when the angle between the first and second toe (intermetatarsal angle) is excessive. In a metatarsal base osteotomy, a wedge of bone is removed from the base of the first metatarsal bone and the bone is repositioned. Wires or screws may be inserted to stabilize the bone. Absorbable pins and screws can also be used as fixation. Afterwards, your foot may be in a cast for six weeks.


Conservative bunion treatment

Roomy and comfortable shoes
Self-adhesive cushions to ease painful pressure and friction
Horseshoe or donut foam pads
Shoe inserts (orthotic devices) prescribed by your podiatrist and molded to your feet to help your feet function better
Medication such as corticosteroid injections and pain relievers for temporary relief of symptoms
Physical therapy, massage and acupuncture to increase motion and decrease swelling


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Dr. Henry Tseng Podiatry
Tel: (626) 330-4866 Fax: (626) 330-7989
We speak English, Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese)
We gladly accept most insurance: Medicare/MediCal, private insurance, and referrals from
family doctors.