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What Exactly is a Bunion? - Dr. Jonathan Hook
Dr. Jonathan Hook DPM

Dr. Jonathan Hook

What Exactly is a Bunion?

Contrary to what most people think, a bunion is more than just a bump on the side of the big toe. The bump of a bunion is actually a visible sign of what’s going on inside the foot. It reflects changes taking place in the bony framework in the front of the foot. The big toe leans toward the second toe instead of pointing straight out. This throws the bones out of alignment and forms the characteristic bump.


Bunions are a progressive disorder, which means the leaning usually gets worse and alters the angle of the bones in that area. As a result, the bump becomes more prominent and that’s when symptoms appear (although some people never have symptoms).


The symptoms of a bunion include pain or soreness at the bump, and redness and inflammation. Some people have a burning sensation or numbness at the bump. Symptoms most often occur when wearing shoes that crowd the toes. This may explain why more women are likely to have symptoms than men.


X-rays evaluate how far your bunion has progressed and will help determine the best approach to correcting this deformity. Sometimes bunions can be treated conservatively, through nonsurgical options. But for many people, surgery is appropriate if nonsurgical treatments fail to provide adequate relief. Bunion surgery is also called a bunionectomy. A bunionectomy corrects the changes in the foot’s bony structure, removes the bump, and corrects any soft tissue changes that may have occurred. A bunionectomy is performed to accomplish three goals: reduce the pain, improve the patient’s ability to function normally, and decrease the deformity itself.  


What exactly will your procedure involve?


There are various procedures available to them to treat bunions. The right procedure for you will be decided by taking into account your x-ray results, your age, your activity level, and other factors. In general, recovery from a bunionectomy will take several weeks and will require some time off of your foot.

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