What Causes Bunion Pain?



A bunion is a localized enlargement of the base of the big toe. The enlargement actually involves the misalignment of the joint causing the big toe to point towards the second toe, while the first metatarsal bone points outwards, making the joint protrude outwards.

Bunions always start as a small bump at the joint of the big toe. Unfortunately, this is a progressive condition and the bunion will eventually enlarge in time. Wearing improper footwear like tight shoes, especially high heels which forces the foot into an awkward position can hasten the enlargement of a bunion.

Bunion pain typically occurs when the enlarged joint of the first metatarsal bone (MTP or metatarsophalangeal joint) becomes inflamed. Simple activities like jogging, running or even walking can irritate the bunion because of the misaligned joint.  The bunion can also get irritated when it rubs against the inside of the shoe or gets bumped. The bursa, a fluid filled a sac that wraps around the joint and help reduce friction can also get tender and cause pain. Arthritis can also occur in bunions, which can cause severe bunion pain.

Bunion facts:

·         Not all bunions can cause pain. Some patients have bunions all their life and don’t experience any pain.  

·         Bunion Pain is not directly proportional to the size of the bunion. Even a small bunion can cause excruciating pain.

·         Bunions commonly affect the big toe joint, but it can also affect the little toe, referred to as a bunionette or tailor’s bunion.

·         Bunion commonly affects women.

·         Bunion can be treated conservatively: RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate), using proper footwear, orthotics or foot support, steroid injection and pain relievers.

·         Surgery is the best treatment for persistent bunion pain, especially if all conservative treatments no longer provide relief. Recommended surgical technique: minimally invasive bunion surgery or no scar bunion surgery.

Dr. Kevin Lam, a Double Certified foot and ankle surgeon in Naples, Florida has developed the Lam modification bunion surgery which utilizes a very small incision and virtually painless scarless bunion surgery. For more information, call (239) 430-3668 (FOOT)


 Call (239) 430-3668 (FOOT)

for more information on scarless bunion surgery

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