How Bad Is Too Bad When It Comes to Bunions?


There’s a lot to love about sandal season. Visible bunions? Not so much. The silver lining is that this may be the wake up call some need to address a potentially serious problem.

What is a bunion?

A bunion occurs when the big toe begins to grow inward toward the second toe, pushing the joint of the big toe out. The joint can become red, swollen, and painful.

Bunions could be caused from a variety of reasons. They are significantly more common in women, and may be caused by rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, improper formation of bones at birth, or even trauma. Tight fitting shoes may exacerbate or even cause the problem.

First steps

If you suspect a bunion is forming, avoid wearing tight, narrow-toed shoes, which can worsen the condition. Wide-toed shoes and spacers, which are available at most major drugstores, may also help.

These steps can help alleviate pain, which may be fine for mild bunions. They are not necessarily corrective, however.

When to See a Professional

If a bunion is continuing to cause pain even after using toe spaces and switching to wide toed shoes, you should see a professional to discuss surgical options. You should also see a professional if there is any break in the skin to avoid infections.


Surgery to correct bunions is commonly know as bunionectomy. While it can be very successful at restoring mobility, it is important to follow up with lots of rest, proper footwear, and to expect a minimum three month period of recovery, during which time you may need to use crutches.