What are bunions, and how are they treated?

Written by: Mr Haroon Majeed
Edited by: Conor Lynch

Top Doctors recently chatted to distinguished consultant orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon, Mr Haroon Majeed, who, here in this article below, explains what bunions are, outlines the associated symptoms, and tells us how they are diagnosed and treated.

What is a bunion?

Bunions is a common foot condition that affects the joint at the base of the big toe. Bunions develop when the bones in the front part of the foot move out of place, causing the tip of the big toe to get pulled towards the smaller toes and forcing the joint at the base of the big toe to stick out.


Bunions are a lot more common in females, especially if they are born in a family who is known to have bunions. The skin over the bunion might occasionally become red and sore, and wearing tight, narrow shoes worsen the symptoms and the progression of the deformity.


What are the symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of a bunion include a bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe, swelling, redness, or soreness around your big toe joint, corns or calluses, ongoing pain or pain that comes and goes, and limited movement of your big toe if there is co-existent arthritis in the big toe joint.


How are bunions diagnosed?

Your doctor can identify a bunion by examining your foot. After the physical exam, an X-ray of your foot can help your doctor determine the best way to treat it.


How are they treated?

Non-surgical treatments that may relieve the pain and pressure of a bunion include changing shoes, wearing roomy, comfortable shoes that provide plenty of space for your toes, padding, over-the-counter, and non-medicated bunion pads or cushions that can act as a buffer between your foot and your shoe and ease your pain. Medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium can help you control the pain of a bunion, as well as shoe inserts, padded shoe inserts that can help distribute pressure evenly when you move your feet, reducing your symptoms and may slow down the progression of bunion deformity.


If conservative treatment doesn’t relieve your symptoms, you might need surgery. Surgery is not recommended for cosmetic reasons; only when a bunion causes you frequent pain or interferes with your daily activities. There are many surgical procedures for bunions, and no one technique is best for every problem. However, the commonly used surgical procedure provides a cure of the symptoms in over 90 per cent of cases.


Surgical procedures involve removing the bony prominence, straightening your big toe, realigning one or more bones in the forefoot to a more normal position to correct the abnormal angle in your big toe joint, or joining the bones of your affected joint permanently. Overall, potential risks can occur in around five per cent cases and a good recovery is seen in about two to three months after surgery.


To consult with Mr Haroon Majeed today, simply head on over to his Top Doctors profile. 

By Mr Haroon Majeed
Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Haroon Majeed is a highly respected and experienced consultant orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon who currently practises at the Ramsay Oaklands Hospital in Greater Manchester. His main areas of expertise include ankle pain, ankle arthritis, Achilles tendon pain, bunionsfoot and ankle fractures, arthritis in foot joints, inflammatory arthritis, big toe arthritis, and plantar fasciitis

Mr Majeed undertook specialist training in various prestigious trauma centres in the East and West Midlands, and successfully completed a foot and ankle fellowship at the world-renowned Wrightington Hospital. Notably, he also undertook a visiting fellowship in Germany in a highly established foot and ankle specialist centre.

Mr Majeed is a member of the British Orthopaedic Association and the British and European Foot and Ankle Society, and he has impressively published and presented his research work in various national and international meetings, the details of which can be found on his portfolio website here. Not only that, but he has been the current departmental lead for clinical governance, research development, and foot and ankle teaching for postgraduate and undergraduate levels for a number of years. 

View Profile

Overall assessment of their patients

  • Related procedures
  • Platelet-rich plasma
    Ozone therapy
    Botulinum toxin (Botox™)
    Abnormal gait
    Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
    Elbow Pain
    Nerve Compression elbow
    Median nerve compression
    Radial nerve compression
    This website uses our own and third-party Cookies to compile information with the aim of improving our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences as well analysing your browsing habits. You can change your settings HERE.