Do All Bunions Require Surgery?

Aug 03, 2022

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Do All Bunions Require Surgery?

Do you have a bony mass on the side of your big toe that’s especially painful when you walk, exercise, or wear tighter shoes? Odds are you have a bunion

From finding shoes that fit without causing discomfort to difficulty walking even short distances, bunions are a pain. 

At Salt Lake City Foot and Ankle Clinic, with locations in Holladay and West Jordan, Utah, we understand the discomfort and frustration bunions bring. Our experienced podiatrists also understand that you may worry that surgery is your only option.

The truth is, a variety of effective bunion treatments help bring you relief from your bunions. In fact, our team uses surgery only when other treatments don’t work or in the case of severe bunions. 

Here, you can learn more about bunions and the multiple treatment options available. 

What do I need to know about bunions?

You have a joint at the base of your big toe called the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. If your MTP develops a deformity, it causes a bunion. 

Bunions result when this joint compresses and shifts out of place. The movement causes your big toe to point in toward your other toes. 

At first, a bunion might look like small bumps or sores on your foot. However, since you must keep walking and standing, the joint continues to shift, causing the bunion to get bigger. 

As your bunion worsens, it can swell, turn red, and become inflamed. That can make your skin sensitive to touch and trigger worse pain — even when you’re not walking or standing.

Why do I have bunions?

Bunions can happen to anyone. You can lower your risk by wearing comfortable and well-fitting shoes and not engaging in activities that stress your feet repeatedly. 

Some risk factors increase your chances of getting these bony protrusions, however. One of the most significant factors is having a family history of bunions. Other risk factors include:

  • Hypermobile feet
  • Flat feet
  • Wearing improper footwear for your feet
  • Repetitive stress on your feet 
  • Certain neurological disorders
  • Personal history of arthritis

A foot injury can also lead to a bunion, and they sometimes develop in people with foot or joint deformities.

If I have a bunion, do I need surgery?

Not necessarily. Surgery to correct bunions is usually the last resort. At Salt Lake City Foot and Ankle Clinic, our first step is to try conservative therapies, such as:

  • Changing your footwear
  • Cushioning or padding
  • Physical therapy
  • Custom orthotics
  • Shoe inserts
  • Cortisone injections
  • Ice and rest

Before recommending any treatment, however, our team evaluates your medical history and symptoms. We may take an X-ray to assess the severity of your bunion before creating a personalized treatment plan.

To learn if your bunion requires surgery, schedule an appointment with the experts at Salt Lake City Foot and Ankle Clinic in Holladay and West Jordan, Utah, today.