What is a Bunion?

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is a misalignment of the bones in the big toe. A bunion typically occurs when something causes the big toe to turn inward and bend toward the other toes. Many people with bunions find it difficult to wear standard footwear, and complain of pain that gets worse during physical activity.

What is a Bunionette?

A bunionette is a similar condition that results in a misalignment of the little toe. Like bunions, bunionettes can be painful, and make it difficult to wear narrow fitting shoes.

What causes Bunions and Bunionettes?

Bunions and bunionettes are typically caused by external pressure. Wearing tight, narrow footwear is thought to cause bunions, and it can certainly make them worse. In some instances, bunions can be the result of an inherited structural defect in the foot. They can also be caused by external stress being placed on the foot, or by a medical condition, such as arthritis.

Bunion/Bunionette Symptoms

Common symptoms of bunions and bunionettes include:
  • Common symptoms of bunions and bunionettes include:
  • A bump on the outside of your little toe (bunionette)
  • Swelling or redness around your big or little toe joint
  • Pain
  • Restricted movement of your big or little toe

Bunion/Bunionette Treatment

A number of non-surgical treatments are available for bunions and bunionettes. These include:
  • Wearing comfortable, roomy shoes
  • Taping, padding or splinting
  • Over the counter medications for pain
  • Shoe inserts which distribute pressure evenly

Surgery for Bunion/Bunionette

If conservative treatments don’t provide adequate symptom relief, our South Coast Orthopaedics doctor might recommend surgery. Surgery will only be suggested if your bunion or bunionette causes frequent pain and interferes with your daily life.

A number of procedures may be used in bunion / bunionette surgery. At your consultation in our rooms, our surgeon will talk to you about which one is appropriate for your needs. Typically, surgery for bunions and bunionettes involves:
  • Removing the inflamed tissue and excessive bone from around your toe joint
  • Straightening your toe by realigning the bone
  • Joining the bones of your affected joint permanently

Recovery from bunion surgery

Your surgeon will talk to you about what to expect after surgery. You may be able to walk on your foot shortly after surgery, however full recovery can take a month or two. Most people are advised to wear wider footwear following surgery.