Bunions are one of the most common foot deformities we see at Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Centers, and one we have a lot of experience treating—both surgically and non-surgically. That includes the advanced Lapiplasty bunion surgery procedure for a much faster return to weight-bearing and lower risk of recurrence, which is discussed in greater detail below.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t even come to see us until the bump on their foot is very large, causing a lot of pain, and disrupting their daily lives in a major way. Mostly, they’re afraid that the “cure” is going to be worse than the condition. But that just isn’t true!

While we can provide effective relief for a bunion at any stage, the earlier you see us, the more options—including non-surgical options—you’ll have. There’s no reason to wait until constant pain forces your hand!

foot with bunion on white background

What Is a Bunion? What Are the Symptoms?

A bunion is a foot deformity characterized by a number of common signs and symptoms:

  • A large, bony bump forms along the inside of the foot, at the base of the big toe.
  • The big toe itself drifts out of position, with the tip of the big toe pushing toward (and sometimes even overtop of) the second toe.
  • In most cases, the first metatarsal bone (which links the big toe to the tarsal bones of the midfoot) is also shifted outward, upward, and rotated from its normal position.

Bunions are progressive, meaning that without treatment the bunion will only get worse with time. As the condition becomes more severe, it may become harder and harder to fit into normal shoes, and harder and harder to perform daily tasks without pain. 

Calluses, corns, blisters, and other painful skin irritations may develop in spots where the foot rubs against the inside of your shoe, or where toes rub against one another.

What Causes Bunions?

The vast majority of bunions are believed to be genetically inherited to at least some degree. Essentially, you were likely born with a certain foot shape or structure that is prone to developing the kinds of joint instability that ultimately lead to bunion formation.

This is why bunions tend to run in families. If several close family members also have or had bunions, there’s a good chance you will too—although it’s not a certainty!

What about wearing high heels or tight shoes? Different doctors and researchers actually disagree over whether wearing bad shoes can actually cause a bunion in a “normal” foot without there also being a genetic, structural component at the same time. 

However, it does seem pretty clear that poor shoes can “trigger” the early formation of bunions if you are already predisposed to getting them, and they can definitely make an existing bunion more painful and develop at a faster rate. Check out this blog for tips on how to choose shoes that can help you prevent, delay, or slow the progression of a bunion.

doctor examining patient with a bunion

Do All Bunions Require Surgery?

No, not necessarily. But if you want to prevent surgery, or at least delay it as long as you possibly can, it’s essential that you seek treatment as early as possible. This means before you even start to notice any painful symptoms or difficulties wearing shoes.

In these early stages, we can often use conservative therapies like taping, splinting, physical therapy, shoe changes, and custom orthotics to keep your feet comfortable and allow you to continue your regular activities unimpeded.

However, once the bunion starts to cause daily pain or keeps you from participating in activities you used to enjoy, surgery is usually inevitable. However, it’s not all bad news, because our office specializes in a sophisticated form of bunion surgery that offers much faster recovery and better long-term results than conventional approaches!

Read this blog for more information about conservative treatment options, and how to determine when it’s time for surgery.

Common Asked Questions About Bunions

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is a foot deformity that results in the big toe pointing inwards towards the rest of the toes. This deformity can also cause the first metatarsal bone to protrude outwards, creating a noticeable lump on the side of the foot. In severe cases, the big toe can overlap with the second toe, causing crowding and discomfort.

You can also develop a bunionette, a small bony bump that forms on the outer edge of the foot. It’s similar to a traditional bunion but forms on the fifth toe instead of the big toe.

Bunions tend to run in families. So, if you have family members with bunions, you may also be at greater risk of developing a bunion. The condition usually develops gradually over time and is often aggravated by shoes that don’t fit correctly or by activities that put stress on your feet.

Symptoms of a Bunion

  • Pain and tenderness along the inside edge or outer edge of your foot.
  • Swelling of your big toe joint and a bony lump.
  • Redness or irritation of your skin over the bunion.
  • Corns or calluses can form on your big toe when it rubs against your second toe or the inside of your shoe.
  • Difficulty walking, and in severe cases, bunions can make walking impossible.

Treatment Options

If you have any of these symptoms, do not delay seeing one of our experts. Non-surgical treatments are more likely to be successful the earlier you visit us. In more severe cases, you may need corrective surgery. We specialize in an advanced procedure – Lapiplasty 3D bunion correction. In our safe hands, you will be able to recover faster and reduce the chances of the bunion returning in the future.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with our Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Centers experts to discuss bunion treatment, complete our online contact form or call (816) 455-1155.

What Does a Bunion Look Like?

Bunions can be extremely painful, but can also be unpleasant to look at too. The great news though is that you do not have to settle with the idea of living with a bunion for the rest of your life. 

A bunion is a bony bump located on the inside of your foot, at the base of the big toe. You can also form a bunion on the outside of your foot at the base of your little toe, but that is called a bunionette.

If you have a bunion or a bunionette, you will likely notice that the toe with the bunion on it has moved closer to your other toes and the bunion is sticking out of your foot. The toe with the bunion may also overlap the toe next to it. Having your other toes squeezed together can also be very painful, and cause other toe problems. Your skin may also be red and sore where the bunion has formed.

What Does Your Bunion Look Like Under the Skin Surface?

Bunions form when the bones at the base of your toe move out of place, causing your toe to move diagonally and slant toward your other toes. As a result, the joint of your big toe begins to stick out of the inside of your foot. 

To fix this movement, the bones need to be repositioned and held in place to prevent the bunion from forming again. 

Most pain caused by bunions can be treated with bunion pads, custom orthotics, over-the-counter pain medications, or applying ice to the bunion to decrease pain and swelling. However, to get rid of the bunion for good, you need lapiplasty surgery.

Contact one of our three offices in Kansas or three offices in Missouri to have your bunion evaluated. Our team of seven skilled and capable foot specialists will be able to help you find the best way to treat your bunion and help you get the relief you need!

What Causes Bunions?

For most people, foot health takes a back seat to other concerns – at least until you experience painful problems like bunions. These foot deformities can be a huge hassle, resulting in toe pain that significantly reduces your quality of life.

There’s no specific cause for bunions, but clinicians believe there are contributing factors. For instance, some people might just have a genetic predisposition based on the shape of their feet or be born with foot deformities. This means that if your parents or grandparents have had a bunion, chances are high that you might develop one or two yourself.

Other risk factors may include acute injuries. For instance, if you break or sprain your foot, you might end up developing bunions. Such an injury that can lead to a bunion is turf toe or a sprain of the big toe.
Bunions commonly develop over time. While they often start as minor, slightly reddish lumps, they can evolve into thick, hard patches of skin. They might also be sore to the touch.

As bunions worsen, they can become quite painful. Bunions can also contribute to other foot problems. This is due to your big toe no longer supporting your weight properly, causing the rest of your foot to bear the strain.

Did My Shoes Make My Bunions Worse?

Some clinicians believe your choice of footwear may aggravate bunions. For instance, the Mayo Clinic says that people who wear toe-cramping high heels or overly tight shoes are at increased risk of developing bunions. That said, experts aren’t quite sure whether these kinds of footwear cause the condition or merely make it worse.

How Should I Treat My Bunions?

Your bunions might contribute to anything from bursitis and toe pain to hammertoes, so it’s best to get them checked out early. Schedule your appointment with the Comprehensive Foot & Ankle Centers in the Kansas City area today!

Can You Prevent Bunion Surgery?

There is never any guarantee that you can avoid surgery to correct a bunion. What you can do is follow these steps to give yourself the best chance possible of avoiding surgery:

  • Find out if you’re at risk for bunions before they become a problem. Bunions usually have a genetic component, so ask your family members to see if anyone has them. If so, get your feet checked regularly to catch bunion formation as early as possible. 
  • Seek medical treatment as soon as you notice a bump alongside your big toe. Even if it causes no discomfort, have it checked. The sooner you get it checked, the easier it is to fix it.
  • Wear footwear that fits properly and provides adequate support for all parts of your foot. Ask our foot doctors for recommendations if you want to go to a local store for a professional shoe fitting. 
  • Wear different shoes for work, exercise sports, and other routine experiences. You will experience more wear and tear if you wear the same shoes all the time. 
Is a Bunion Cure at Home Possible?

If you’re already developing a bunion, is there a bunion home remedy that may help? There is no way to cure a bunion at home. That would require significant alternation to the bone, which isn’t possible without surgery. 

What you can do is limit the pain and discomfort that comes with a bunion. Start by investing in footwear that fits properly and adding orthotics with adequate arch support and a toe separator. You may also hold an ice compress on the bunion for 15 or 20 minutes several times a day to ease inflammation.

How Do You Get Rid of Bunions?

A bulging, bony growth located at the base of your big toe is called a bunion. A bunion forms when the first metatarsal bone of the foot turns outward and the big toe points inward, causing the joint at the base of the big toe to protrude. 

Because this abnormal growth bulges outward and can impair your foot’s ability to function as normal, you may be researching removal methods. Unfortunately, there is no way to remove a bunion without undergoing surgery. 

Bunion surgery is ideal for people whose bunions are causing them significant pain and limiting their mobility. The purpose of bunion surgery is to alleviate your pain, eliminate the bunion, and realign the joint.

If you pursue bunion surgery, you may become familiar with two common surgical procedures: bunionectomy and osteotomy. However, there’s a new surgical procedure available called lapiplasty, which corrects your bunion by taking an innovative “three-dimensional” approach. Its benefits include minimal scarring, a quicker recovery, and less post-surgical pain. 

Lapiplasty is an advanced and effective bunion removal method that directly addresses joint instability, which causes bunions to form in the first place. Unlike an osteotomy, which involves cutting and repositioning bone that is out-of-alignment, lapiplasty bunion surgery involves fully and rotationally restoring the bones to their proper anatomical position. 

The metatarsal bone will be repositioned across all three dimensions—sideways, vertically, and rotationally—to eliminate the bunion, straighten the big toe, and reposition the bones. In addition, the insertion of titanium plates will fix the unstable joint at the base of the metatarsal bone, which will help prevent the bunion from forming again. All of this also remedies the underlying cause of the bunion, ultimately making lapiplasty a worthwhile procedure regarding long-term results.

Bunions are complex, and lapiplasty is the only procedure that treats them as such. This is the safest, most convenient, and most dependable surgery for bunions. The best way to get rid of bunions—and to prevent them from reemerging—is lapiplasty bunion surgery.

If you need help getting rid of your bunions or any other foot or ankle condition, give us a call or find out our online contact form and one of our amazing staff members will love to talk with you and help schedule an appointment to help you find relief.

How Long is Recovery from Bunion Surgery?

Following any surgery, patients are likely to have questions. Since bunion surgery affects your ability to walk, you might be anxious to know how you’ll be affected by the recovery process. We’ll attempt to answer some of the questions you may have so you can gain a better understanding of what to expect.

When Can I Put Weight on My Foot Following Bunion Surgery?

We understand you might be eager to get back on your feet, but after traditional bunion surgery, your foot needs about 6 weeks to heal before you can put weight on it. By then, your foot may support light weight-bearing activities, like driving.

Since lapiplasty 3D bunion correction is minimally invasive, you can expect a quicker recovery time. Most people can put some weight on their foot just a few days after surgery.

When Can I Wear Shoes Again?

Most people can start wearing tennis shoes about 8 weeks after traditional bunion surgery or 6 weeks following a lapiplasty procedure.

When Will My Foot be Completely Healed?

It usually takes 3 to 4 months for a complete recovery to be made from traditional bunion surgery. For a lapiplasty, some people return to work after 5 days, but others need 4 to 6 weeks. By then, you can probably resume all of your usual activities.

Depending on how much your job requires you to be on your feet, you might need a bit more time to heal before you’re ready to go back to work.

If you have a bunion, the best solution is to surgically correct it and support the joint so that it doesn’t happen again. Book an appointment at Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Centers to rid yourself of foot pain.

Feet hanging off a platform

Introducing Lapiplasty 3D Bunion Correction

This is a revolutionary new way to treat bunions that offers much faster practical recovery, significantly improved anatomical correction, and significantly reduced long-term risk of bunion recurrence when compared to traditional forms of bunion surgery.

In a conventional bunion osteotomy, the surgeon cuts the metatarsal bone, shifts the front half over, and shaves down the bump. The result is a foot that looks “normal” on the outside, but it’s not a true fix. Under the skin, the bone is still crooked and the fundamental instability that caused the bunion in the first place remains.

With Lapiplasty, we use a specialized tool to fully rotate and realign the metatarsal back into the proper anatomical position before any cuts are made to the bone. Then, innovative low-profile titanium plates are inserted to stabilize the joint between the metatarsal and tarsal bones—which is the root cause of most bunions.

This means that a bunion treated with Lapiplasty doesn’t just “look” correct from the outside. It is corrected, inside and out, with the root cause also taken care of.

The benefits of this approach are huge:

  • Much faster return to weight-bearing—usually within a few days of the procedure.
  • Much lower risk of recurrence—by some studies, your risk of re-developing a bunion after Lapiplasty is 12 times lower than after a conventional bunion osteotomy.

Read our blog on Lapiplasty for a more in-depth exploration of the procedure.

The Best Time to Treat a Bunion Is Always Right Now

Whether your bunion has just started to form, or it’s been with you for years, there is no reason to delay seeking our help. From conservative management strategies to a reliable long-term surgical fix, we can provide exactly the care you need to eliminate your discomfort and ensure the long-term health and function of your feet!

To request an appointment with the team at Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Centers, complete our online contact form or give us a call at (816) 455-1155.