Discover the Cause of Bunions and How to Treat Them

The below article describes a few important points to know about a bunion.

What are Bunions?

A bunion is a deformity of the bone which occurs on the joint of the big toe. It protrudes from the side of the foot and causes the big toe to point at an angle towards the second toe instead of straight up.

Tailor’s Bunion or Bunionette

Also known as a bunionette, a tailor’s bunion is the same as a normal bunion except that it forms on the joint of the little toe instead of the big one. It also protrudes from the foot and causes the pinky toe to point at an angle. It is called a tailor’s bunion as in the past tailors would sit cross-legged with the pinky side of the foot rubbing on the ground. They would sit like that for long periods of time, causing the bunionette to form.

What Causes Bunions?

Ill-fitting Shoes

  • Badly fitting shoes can contribute to the growth of bunions, especially tight shoes as they rub against the foot, irritating the joint. Ill-fitting shoes can also squeeze the toes, causing the big toe to bend towards the others. This can be especially bad with pointed and high heeled shoes as they put a lot of pressure on the toes.


  • Bunions often run in families, so if your family members have bunions then there is a higher risk of you developing them. This is due to the way the bones in your feet grow and develop, if your parents have feet that are prone to bunions then chances are that you will inherit the same foot shape and be likely to suffer from bunions too.


  • Some types of arthritis, including gout and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause bunions. One of the symptoms of arthritis is a swelling in the joints affected, if this is on the toe joint then it will protrude, helping a bunion to form. The swelling can also cause the joint to rub on the side of the shoe, which can lead to a bunion developing.

Bunion Treatments

To permanently remove bunions, surgery is required. However, doctors and podiatrists will first suggest non-surgical treatments to help take the pressure off the area. These treatments don’t reduce the bunion or prevent it from getting worse but they can relieve pain and make bearing with a bunion easier.

Non-surgical treatments include using bunion pads to help with the pain of bunions. These are gel or fleece pads that can be placed over the bunion to protect it from rubbing against shoes.

Orthotics are another form of non-surgical treatment that can help ease the pain of bunions. They are cushioned pads that are placed in shoes to help support the foot. This relieves pressure on the bunion area and therefore reduces the pain.

The shoes you wear can help treat bunions; as bad fitting shoes can cause bunions, well-fitting shoes help ease the pain. If they don’t rub then they don’t irritate the area and take the pressure off the bunion.

If none of these options works then surgery is required. There are a number of procedures which all include cutting away the bone deformity. Often plates and wires are used to help the toe to heel and the joint to keep working properly. In some cases it is necessary to remove the joint completely, this will leave you with limited flexibility in the toe but will ensure that a bunion will not form again.

To find out more visit our BunionTreatments page.

Can Bunions be Prevented?

Bunions can’t always be prevented, especially if they run in the family, but you can reduce the risk of getting them by ensuring you wear shoes that fit. Getting your feet measured is an excellent first step; this ensures that you know exactly what size shoes you need so you won’t purchase any that are too tight or small. It’s also best to avoid high heels as they put pressure on the toes, especially the big toe joint, as do pointed shoes.


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