Most frequently asked questions about bunions.

A bunion is a term for the bone enlargement that protrudes out where your big toe and foot meet.

A bunion can also form on the outside of the foot where the little toe and foot meet.

 

1. Does wearing the wrong shoes cause a bunion?

Bunions are almost always hereditary. Narrower shoes worn consistently can make the bunion hurt more, but do not cause it. If shoes were the cause, men and children would never get bunions… and they do. Unfortunately, some people are just genetically predisposed to this condition.

2. Is there a splint that can correct a bunion?

There are many splints on the market, but none of them correct a bunion. Nothing will take away the enlarged bone and make the big toe straight again other than surgery. Wearing a splint may slow down how fast a bunion grows.

3. I heard a bunion always comes back after being removed – is that true?

Although it’s possible for a bunion to recur, when the right procedure is done it’s rare the bunion will return. The techniques for bunion correction keep getting better. Also, we recommend shoes with good support and custom orthotics to decrease the chance of a recurrence.

4. When is the best time to have the bunion removed?

There are a couple of reasons to consider having surgery. The first is when there is pain on a daily basis. The second is if the big toe starts overlapping the second toe. The size of the bunion doesn’t always correlate with the pain. Some large bunions rarely hurt. Some small bunions hurt a ton. We can advise you as to if or when surgery is indicated.

5. Will I need crutches and a cast after surgery?

Crutches, a walker, or knee scooter is necessary for almost every bunion surgery. Keeping pressure off the surgery site will decrease the pain and swelling. A walking boot is needed in most cases. A fiberglass cast is only needed for a rare form of bunion correction.

6. When is it safe to start exercising after surgery?

The general rule is it takes about 2 months to start walking for exercise or using an elliptical. It usually takes longer to start jogging again. Some people can use an exercise bike as early as 3 weeks after surgery.

7. What can be done about the pain besides surgery?

Sometimes we’ll use cortisone to relieve the pain. Custom orthotics are helpful to align the foot better. Of course, wider shoes can be helpful. Ice and Ibuprofen have also helped some people.

 

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all for bunions.

We recommend a non-surgical approach to bunions, as we do for all foot conditions, for as long as possible.

Some bunions can get bigger and more painful quickly. An x-ray will guide us to the best option if this occurs.

If you have had a bunion that hurts fairly often, we can advise you on the best course of action. Our staff members are ready to make your appointment.

 

Ibrahim Haro, DPM
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NJ podiatrist helping Clifton area patients with diabetic foot care, foot pain, flat feet, and neuropathy.