What Causes Bunions?

We hear it all the time, “My mother had bunions because she used to spend all day in her high heels”. While the sentiment may be correct, and things certainly have changed, it’s probably not true that those high heels caused the bunions.


Bunions are caused by an underlying instability in the biomechanical condition of the foot. This instability causes changes to the bones in the foot, causing the big toe to drift inward the second toe. In turn this pushes the joint of the big toe outward. This drifting can be more severe if the arch of the foot remains unsupported, because the weight of the body can rest on the affected joint.


It is true that bunions are commonly passed down from parents, a hereditary condition. Bunions are also a progressive condition, meaning it worsens over time. While there are several things your podiatrist can do to slow the progression of a bunion, the only way to correct one is through surgical means.


Patients with bunions will typically suffer pain while walking, soreness, inflammation, redness and numbness in the area of the bunion. Most conservative treatments for bunions are concerned with taking pressure off of the joint with supportive shoes and orthotics inserts, as well as reducing pain and inflammation, usually with over the counter medications like aspirin or ibuprofen.


The podiatrists at Ankle & Foot Associates now use the Lapiplasty technique to surgically correct bunions, you can read more about it here. If you or a loved one is experiencing pain from bunions, call your local Ankle & Foot Associates office and schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists.

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