Important Facts You Should Know About Bunions


A bunion is a common foot deformity that affects a lot of Americans at any age. Not only is it visually unappealing, some experience severe swelling and pain, which can affect a person’s lifestyle. A bunion is a unique condition affecting a specific population which will be discussed below:

1.       A bunion is a bony protrusion located at the base of the big toe. Due to weakness of the structures of the foot, the first metatarsal bone protrudes outwards, causing the big toe to angle inwards. The protruding bump we see in feet with bunions is actually the head of the first metatarsal bone.

2.       A bunion is a progressive condition. Whatever you do, the bunion will slowly get worse with time.


3.       The most common cause of bunion is due to wearing improper footwear. Women are significantly affected by this condition because of wearing high heels.  These types of shoes place the foot into an awkward position, weakening the structures of the foot and hence, forming the bunion.

4.       Genetics also play a major role in the incidence of bunions.  This is the reason why we find bunion cases among very young children. This is due to genetically weak structures of the foot.

5.        Bunion cases are more common in western countries. Studies show that 30% of the population in western countries has bunions, while countries that don’t commonly use shoes have very low incidence of bunion.

6.       Not all bunions cause pain. The initial stages of this condition are asymptomatic for most patients. Bunion pain occurs when the bunion gets larger, especially when the bump rubs against the walls of your shoe or if you accidentally hit the bunion against an object, this can cause the surrounding structures of the bunion to get irritated and inflamed causing pain and swelling.

7.       Conservative treatment. Bunion pain is a common reason for patient visits to their podiatrist. Most of the time, pain can be controlled thru conservative treatments such as cold soaks, custom-made orthotics, wearing comfortable fitting shoes, physical therapy and stretching exercises.

8.      Surgery. Surgical treatment is only done when conservative treatment is no longer effective. Minimally invasive bunion surgery is the preferred surgical procedure done by physicians today due to its excellent post-operative results like very minimal pain and swelling, fast recovery time, and patients being able to walk a few days after surgery.

Dr. Kevin Lam is a Double Certified foot and ankle surgeon in Naples, Florida and has developed the Lam modification bunion surgery which utilizes a very small incision and virtually painless no scar bunion surgery. For more information, call (239) 430-3668 (FOOT) or visit

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