Bunions – The physical effects and Treatment

Bunions are a bony bump that is formed on the side of the foot. This happens when the base of the big toe abnormally points outward and the tip of the toe goes inward towards the second toe. 

This is a slow and timely process that can be caused by a variety of factors such as: 

  • bone structure 
  • consistent pressure 
  • wearing tight shoes 
  • pore posture
  • inherited foot shape 
  • birth deformities 
  • injuries

Anyone can form a bunion(s) but is mostly seen amongst women due to the varying types of shoes, often narrow and heeled causing pressure and friction. 

As bunions progress in size so does the associated pain as well as the overall look of the foot. 


Bunionette refers to a bony bump but this time forming on the outside of the foot. The mechanics however remain the same as described above. 

Symptoms for both bunions and bunionettes include: 

  • visible bump 
  • redness and swelling 
  • restricted movement 
  • callus 
  • pain 


Firstly, and depending on the degree that the bunion has formed, some may find relief in: 

  • shoe inserts 
  • wearing wider shoes 
  • corn/bunion plasters 
  • toe separators 
  • muscle massage

Secondly, you can visit a skilled Physiotherapist and Podiatrist who will be able to provide a thorough examination of the area and propose the best treatment plan for your individual needs. This will most likely be a series of exercises to help strengthen the muscle and joint in that area thus reducing any pain. 

Thirdly, your healthcare provider will be able to advise if surgery is an option for you. This would involve:

  1. Making a small cut in the skin over your big toe.
  2. Cutting or scraping away the bunion.
  3. Straightening your toe bone.
  4. Fixing your toe bone in place with metal screws or staples put under your skin. 

Surgery is usually done when you’re asleep under general anaesthetic and most people go home the same day.


nhs.uk. n.d. Bunions. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bunions/> [Accessed 24 December 2021].

Orthoinfo.aaos.org. n.d. Bunions – OrthoInfo – AAOS. [online] Available at: <https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/bunions/> [Accessed 24 December 2021].

Mayo Clinic. 2021. Bunions – Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bunions/symptoms-causes/syc-20354799> [Accessed 24 December 2021].

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