Bunions are a common foot deformity. They cause inflammation of the metatarsophalangeal joint, which connects the big toe to the foot.
This inflammation can cause toe positioning deformities and a great deal of pain while walking or even wearing shoes.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons estimates that more than half of the women in the United States get bunions.
Women are nine times more likely than men to develop this joint inflammation. One reason that bunions form could be that 9 out of 10 women wear shoes that are too small.
Other risk factors that can lead to bunions include:
This inflammation causes the big toe to point toward the second toe and often creates a painful bump on the inside edge of the toe. In some cases, the big toe will move under the second toe.
Sometimes the added pressure to the second toe will make this toe move out of position, even into the third toe.
As the condition advances, the positioning of the foot as a whole may appear extreme in deformity. Because of the altered positioning, wearing shoes may become difficult.
Over time, bunions can cause chronic pain and even arthritis. The repeated strain on the metatarsophalangeal joint and related toe positioning makes walking quite hard and very painful.
Request an appointment with a UPMC orthopaedic surgeon:
The links below will open a new browser window.
UPMC's HealthBeat Blog:
From our Health Library:
Bunion-related pain and symptoms can become more intense as the condition progresses.
Common symptoms of bunions may include:
Diagnosing bunions comes after an orthopaedic evaluation of the following three areas:
These three factors aim to assess the scope of your toe misalignment, as well as related circulatory or nerve conditions that could be causing your bunion.
At UPMC Orthopaedic Care, bunion treatment goals strive to:
Nonsurgical ways to care for existing bunions and find pain relief include:
If nonsurgical changes to your footwear prove ineffective in treating your bunions, your doctor may suggest a surgical procedure.
Some common bunion removal surgery options include:
The benefits of nonsurgical and surgical correction of bunions include:
If you're considering bunion surgery, note that surgery will not allow you to wear a smaller shoe size or continue wearing narrow-width shoes. Wearing constricting footwear can cause bunions to return and intensify.
After surgical correction of your bunions, you will need to check in regularly with your UPMC orthopaedic surgeon to monitor your feet.
Your doctor may recommend resting for about a week, during which you might need to use a walker, cane, or crutches.
You also may experience some swelling in your feet for up to six months after bunion surgery.
UPMC Patient Education Materials:
Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit www.healthwise.org
For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.
UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.
Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.
For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com