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Reviewed/Revised May 2022 | Modified Sep 2022
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What is a bunion?

A bunion is a bony bump at the base of your big toe. The bump can be painful.

  • A bunion is really just the end of one of your foot bones

  • The end of the foot bone appears to stick out because your big toe is pushed in

  • Tight or pointy shoes can cause bunions

  • The joint at the base of your big toe can get inflamed and eventually develop arthritis

  • Sometimes, wearing wider shoes or using bunion pads in your shoes is enough to ease the pain

  • If needed, doctors do surgery to reshape or remove some bone


A bunion is a bump at the base of the big toe. A bursa (fluid-filled sac) may develop over the joint and become inflamed and painful (bursitis).


What causes bunions?

A bunion can develop when something forces your big toe in toward your other toes. Causes of bunions include:

  • Rolling your foot in when you walk (overpronation), which is most common if you have flat feet

  • Wearing tight or pointy shoes, particularly with high heels

What are the symptoms of a bunion?

Symptoms of bunions include:

  • Pain in your toe joint when wearing narrow or tight shoes

  • Swelling, redness, and warmth

  • Limited motion of the toe joint

How can doctors tell if I have a bunion?

Doctors can usually tell if you have bunions by looking at your feet. They may also:

  • Do x-rays

  • Take some fluid out of the joint using a needle and send it to a lab for testing

How do doctors treat bunions?

Doctors treat bunions by having you:

  • Wear shoes with a wide toe area

  • Put bunion pads in your shoes

  • Tape your foot

  • Wear special devices in your shoes (orthotics)

  • Take acetaminophen or NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen, to relieve pain

If those don’t work, doctors may also:

  • Inject corticosteroids into the bunion

  • Do surgery (bunionectomy)

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
7T Gummy ES, Acephen, Aceta, Actamin, Adult Pain Relief, Anacin Aspirin Free, Aphen, Apra, Children's Acetaminophen, Children's Pain & Fever , Children's Pain Relief, Comtrex Sore Throat Relief, ED-APAP, ElixSure Fever/Pain, Feverall, Genapap, Genebs, Goody's Back & Body Pain, Infantaire, Infants' Acetaminophen, LIQUID PAIN RELIEF, Little Fevers, Little Remedies Infant Fever + Pain Reliever, Mapap, Mapap Arthritis Pain, Mapap Infants, Mapap Junior, M-PAP, Nortemp, Ofirmev, Pain & Fever , Pain and Fever , PAIN RELIEF , PAIN RELIEF Extra Strength, Panadol, PediaCare Children's Fever Reducer/Pain Reliever, PediaCare Children's Smooth Metls Fever Reducer/Pain Reliever, PediaCare Infant's Fever Reducer/Pain Reliever, Pediaphen, PHARBETOL, Plus PHARMA, Q-Pap, Q-Pap Extra Strength, Silapap, Triaminic Fever Reducer and Pain Reliever, Triaminic Infant Fever Reducer and Pain Reliever, Tylenol, Tylenol 8 Hour, Tylenol 8 Hour Arthritis Pain, Tylenol 8 Hour Muscle Aches & Pain, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Children's, Tylenol Children's Pain+Fever, Tylenol CrushableTablet, Tylenol Extra Strength, Tylenol Infants', Tylenol Infants Pain + Fever, Tylenol Junior Strength, Tylenol Pain + Fever, Tylenol Regular Strength, Tylenol Sore Throat, XS No Aspirin, XS Pain Reliever
Advil, Advil Children's, Advil Children's Fever, Advil Infants', Advil Junior Strength, Advil Migraine, Caldolor, Children's Ibuprofen, ElixSure IB, Genpril , Ibren , IBU, Midol, Midol Cramps and Body Aches, Motrin, Motrin Children's, Motrin IB, Motrin Infants', Motrin Junior Strength, Motrin Migraine Pain, PediaCare Children's Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer IB, PediaCare Infants' Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer IB, Samson-8
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