This deformity affects the joint at the base of the big toe. It is a bony bump beneath the skin on the inner side of the foot. A bunion starts small, but over time it can grow to become very large. Bunions are more common in women.


A bunion develops because of a pressure imbalance in your foot. This imbalance makes your toe joint unstable. The bones of your big toe begin to shift and angle in toward your second toe. Constant pressure causes the head of your metatarsal (the bone at the base of your toe) to become irritated. It gradually enlarges, forming a bump.

Risk Factors

Wearing high-heeled shoes and wearing shoes that are too tight or too narrow increases your risk for developing bunions. Bunions have also been linked to problems with the structure of your foot, and to arthritis.


The most obvious symptom of a bunion is a visible bump at the base of your big toe. You may experience pain, swelling, and redness around the affected joint. The skin may thicken and your big toe may angle inward. It may even overlap or tuck under your other toes. This can result in corns or calluses.


Treatment options depend on the severity of your bunion. You may benefit from shoes that give your toes more space, or from pads or orthotic devices. You may also benefit from medications to control pain and swelling, and from applying ice to your bunion. If these methods are not helpful, a surgical procedure may be needed. Your healthcare provider can create a care plan that is right for your needs.

Foot and Ankle Treatment Near You

If you are experiencing pain and discomfort from a bunion or other foot or ankle issue, Illinois Bone & Joint Institute can offer a number of different treatment options for you. Our staff of expert physicians and surgeons commonly treats bunions and other foot and ankle conditions, and would be happy to work with you to create a treatment plan and rid you of your pain. Request an appointment today at a location near you, and we will get your treatment and recovery on track as soon as possible.