Battling Bunions


One of the most common foot ailments is something called a bunion, otherwise known as hallux valgus. What is a bunion? A bunion is a bump that forms on the outside of your big toe and can be painful.

Causes of a bunion include:

  • Tight-fitting shoes – especially around the toe area

  • High heels – puts excessive pressure on the toes

  • Arthritis – irritation and swelling could cause the deformity

  • Heredity – bone structure is passed on from a family member

Symptoms of a bunion include:

  • A bulge on the big toe

  • Redness, pain or swelling of the big toe area

  • Inability to bend the toe

  • Corns or calluses – develop where the toes meet

While there are over the counter treatments for a bunion, seeing your podiatrist is the best solution as they are trained to appropriately treat them. If not treated properly, a bunion can become much more complicated and can turn into bursitis – liquid-filled sacs(bursae) that can become inflamed, hammertoe – a bending of the second toe joint that could result in a need for surgery and metatarsalgia – a painful condition affecting the ball of your foot. After taking an x-ray your podiatrist can treat the bunion in several different ways.

Treatments include:

  • Changing shoes – better fitting footwear with space near the toes

  • Adding padding – applied to cushion the affected area

  • Pain-relief medication – acetaminophen, ibuprofen or similar. Take ONLY as directed

  • Orthotics – custom made shoe insert

  • Ice – to relieve pain and swelling

If these treatments do not help, then surgery may be needed. Surgery can remove part of the bone and/or swollen material in the joint, straightening of the toe joint or permanently joining the affected bones. Recovery could take weeks, but not in all cases.

Daily foot care is an important aspect of any healthy lifestyle. If you start to experience regular foot pain and think you may be developing a bunion or any other foot condition, it’s best to see a podiatrist as soon as possible to avoid further damage. At Park 56 Podiatry, our podiatrists Jonathan Levy, DPM and Nadia Levy, DPM, can work with your unique arch structure and keep you moving happily. Call our office at 212-980-6487 or make an appointment today using our online appointment request form at our office conveniently located in Midtown East, Manhattan.