What is a Bunion?

A bunion is a bony bump at the base of the big toe. The deformity is also called hallux valgus. A person with bunion would often have inflammation and redness over the bump. It can also be painful or may give a burning sensation particularly when wearing tight shoes or shoes with high heels. This may be the reason why women are more likely to have bunions than men.

The bump seen in a bunion is actually a manifestation of the changes in the bony structure of the front part of the foot. When the outside of the foot at the base of the little toe is affected, this is referred to as tailor’s bunion or a bunionette.

The deformity is progressive. Over time, the bunion will become bigger and possibly even more painful. The skin over it may become tender and red. As the bunion gets bigger and bigger, the more it hurts to walk. The big toe may deviate towards the second toe or even move all the way under it. This in turn may force the second toe to overlap the third toe. In advanced cases, the foot may look very misshapen and it becomes more and more difficult to walk properly.

The exact cause of bunions is not known but it seems that genetics play a big role. This means that if bunions run in your family, then you are most likely to have it too.

Other causes are inborn foot conditions or abnormal foot biomechanics such as overpronation, flat feet, high arches, and the like. Sometimes, foot problems like fractures, nerve injuries, sprains, and arthritis may also be the cause for bunions. Wearing shoes that do not fit well or shoes with very high heels may not actually cause bunions but may make the deformity progressively worse.

There are many nonsurgical bunion treatments. However, these measures will not reverse the bunion but only help in relieving the symptoms or may delay its progression.


When is surgery needed for bunion?

When all conservative and nonsurgical bunion treatments fail and the pain interferes with the daily activities, then it may be time to visit your podiatrist. Discuss your options and the different surgical methods for bunion treatment.

The procedures aim to remove the bump of the bone and reduce or eliminate pain. The foot surgeon will decide the best method based on the severity of the bunion.

The newest and safest method for bunion removal is most probably the minimally invasive bunion surgery because it does not involve cutting of the bone. The incision is very minimal, even less than 5mm so it is also virtually scarless bunionectomy. Compared to traditional bunion surgery, this innovative method requires a drastically shorter recovery time and pain is very minimal.

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, minimal discomfort, and virtually painless scarless bunion surgery. For more information, call visit any of the FFLC offices in Lee, Collier, and Charlotte Counties in SWFL or contact (239) 430-3668 (FOOT)

Call (239) 430-3668 (FOOT)

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