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Why bunions are more than just a bump and how to treat them

Written By Anuj Soni 28 May 2024
Why bunions are more than just a bump and how to treat them

Often dismissed as mere bumps on the foot, bunions actually represent a significant medical condition with complex underlying structural changes. 

If you’re suffering from uncomfortable symptoms, understanding the real impact of bunions on foot health, their causes, and the available treatment options is essential for effective management and pain relief.


What are bunions?

A bunion, medically known as hallux valgus, is a deformity where the big toe leans towards the second toe. This causes a bony bump to form at the base of the big toe.

This visible bump indicates significant changes in the foot's structure. The metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe becomes misaligned, causing the bone to stick out. 


Causes of bunions

Bunions are caused by a mixture of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Genetically, some people possess a foot structure that makes them susceptible to bunion formation. 

Wearing inappropriate footwear — especially shoes that are too tight or have a narrow toe box — can also increase your risk of developing bunions. These types of shoes create pressure points and restrict natural toe movement, which can further misalign the toes.


Treatment options to get rid of bunions

Although bunions can happen at any time, there are plenty of ways to minimise the risk of them forming and prevent the discomfort that they can often cause. 


Non-surgical treatments

For many, non-surgical interventions can effectively manage bunion symptoms and halt further progression. These include:


Padding and taping

These methods provide cushioning and proper alignment of the foot, respectively. Taping helps to keep the foot in a normal position, reducing stress on the MTP joint and alleviating foot pain.


Proper footwear

One of the most essential adjustments in managing bunions is the choice of footwear. Shoes with a wide toe box, adequate arch support, and soft materials can relieve pressure on the bunion. We also recommend avoiding high heels and pointed shoes.



Custom orthotic devices designed by a podiatrist can help redistribute pressure away from the affected joint and provide additional support.


Exercises and lifestyle changes

Specific exercises can strengthen the foot and improve flexibility, which helps stabilise the MTP joint. Maintaining a healthy weight can also reduce the stress on your feet.


Bunion prevention

Knowing your risk factors can also help you prevent bunions from forming. By wearing comfortable shoes and supporting your feet with custom orthotics can significantly diminish the risk. 

For those with a family history of bunions, early intervention, lifestyle adaptations, and periodic foot assessments can help manage and possibly prevent bunion development.

Surgical treatments

Surgery is considered when bunion pain is severe, chronic, and impedes daily activities, and when non-surgical treatments fail to relieve symptoms. Surgical options vary but generally aim to realign the bones, correct the deformity, and relieve pain. 

Procedures may involve removing the swollen tissue, straightening the big toe, and realigning the bones of the forefoot. Recovery times vary, and the prognosis typically depends on the severity of the bunion and the specific procedure performed.

Bunion treatment with City Foot Health

At City Foot Health, we recognise the discomfort and mobility issues that bunions can cause. Our skilled team of podiatrists is committed to delivering expert care tailored to your specific needs. 

We offer a range of bunion treatment options, from non-surgical approaches like padding, taping, and customised orthotics, to advanced surgical remedies for more severe cases. Offering guidance on exercises and appropriate footwear, we are dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain optimal foot health.

Start your journey toward relief and better mobility with City Foot Health. Get in touch with us or book your appointment at our London clinic for a personalised consultation.

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