Podiatrist (Foot and Ankle Specialist) Questions Bunions

Can a bunion be treated without surgery?

My husband has a bunion right alongside his toe. Can it be treated without any surgery?

11 Answers

Below is a list of bunion conservative treatments that I recommend:

Custom orthotics– A custom foot orthotic (shoe insert) is a effective tool to minimize the pressure from the bunion
Changing shoes– You might want to change your shoes, especially if you have shoes that squeeze your toes together. Wearing shoes with a wide toe box reduces friction on the bunion.
Padding the bunion– There are special pads made for bunions, but you should consult a podiatrist first, since incorrect usage can worsen the condition.
Icing- To ease your pain, you can try icing your foot to bring down the swelling and inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory medication such as Motrin or Naproxen to decrease pain and inflammation
Cortisone injections (Steroid injections)– Decreases inflammation and often improves motion at the bunion joint
Bunions can be treated conservatively or surgically if conservative options fails
Yes, conservatives treatment for bunion deformities such as toe gel spacer, bunion splint, and custom-made orthotics can reduce the progression of the bunion deformity on the right foot. Please visit a foot and ankle surgeon near your home for further examination and treatment for your husband's right foot.
Very rarely. You will have to use bunion splint all the time to keep your 1st ray aligned. as soon as you take it off, bunion will continue to persist. Usually surgery is the required for symptomatic bunion.
Yes
Of course! Conservative treatment is a must, including change of shoe gear, custom molded orthotics, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications including oral and topicals, manipulation, and injections. You don’t have to suffer with pain.
Yes, he can try larger, wider foot gear, massage with creams, ice massage, and over-the-counter NSAIDS as needed for pain.
Depends on how bad it is. Sometimes arch supports and injections will help. Also, choosing appropriate shoes will help.
Hello,

Thanks for your question. Bunions can be treated conservatively with shoes with a wide toe box, bunion splints, gel pads/sleeves/spacers, OTC orthotics and custom orthotics to name a few options. Unfortunately hallux valgus (bunions) is a biomechanical and structural condition that can not be cured with conservative treatments due to its progressive nature. So with time the bunion can become more pronounced. I do not recommend bunion surgery on patients who do not have pain. I treat each patient on a case by case basis. If you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact the office. Thanks and God bless.
Conservative treatment for a bunion would consist of changing shoes, orthotics, and reducing pressure as well as oral anti-inflammatory medication.

Jonathan M. Kletz, DPM


Bunion deformities represent truly a misalignment of the great toe joint. This joint is comprised of the proximal phalanx of the great toe and the first metatarsal bone. The deformity is considered principally to be familial in etiology but can be worsened by environmental factors to include activity, trauma and foot wear. As there is progressive misalignment of the joint deterioration or ankylosis of the joint can occur. Unfortunately, this deformity is initially best managed with activity modification, shoe modification and analgesics as required and used judiciously. Much of the advertised bunion splints did not produce any sustainable reduction of deformity. Ultimately, if this deformity impacts your quality of life, then surgical correction is warranted. There are a myriad of different surgeries available based on clinical and radiographic presentation.