Great Lakes Foot & Ankle Centers

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Bunion Deformity

Bunion Deformities: What Are Bunions?

Bunions are bony bumps that can develop on the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, that connects your big toe to your foot. These growths often cause the big toe to turn in toward the other toes. Although bunions are not life-threatening, they can be painful and affect your ability to walk comfortably. Smaller bunions, or bunionettes, can develop on the little toe and result in similar discomfort.

What Causes Bunions?

The exact cause of bunions remains unknown. However, researchers have identified a number of factors that contribute to their growth and development.

Individuals suffering from bunions often report wearing high heels and other tight-fitting shoes. Genetics also appear to play a role in bunion growth as it’s common for these deformities to run in families. Other contributing factors include injuries and other foot problems that lead to inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The best way to prevent bunions is to take good care of your feet. Avoid narrow shoes and other ill-fitting footwear. And give your feet a chance to rest after strenuous exercise. If you experience foot pain, consult your doctor early to catch the problem before it has a chance to develop.


Bunions themselves can be painful all on their own. But they can also lead to complications that only make matters worse. One such complication, bursitis, involves the inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that normally cushion the bones adjacent to your joints. Corns, hardened layers of skin that the body produces to protect itself from excessive friction, are also common.

Hammertoe, another complication, is characterized by an atypical bend in the middle joint of a toe. It’s common for this complication to affect the toe directly next to your big toe. When caught early, hammertoes are very treatable conditions. But if they’re given time to develop, even surgical interventions may be ineffective.

Metatarsalgia is another common complication for individuals suffering from bunions. Affecting the ball of your foot, metatarsalgia often causes sharp or burning pains. In many cases, resting or icing the foot will relieve the pain. Wearing shoes with arch supports or shock-absorbing insoles can also help.


Signs of bunion deformity include pain and drifting of the great toe toward the second toe. Other signs include slight swelling, redness, and, in some cases, acute inflammation.


Conservative treatments for bunions include shoe modification, padding, and orthoses (shoe inserts). We rely on these nonsurgical treatments whenever possible.

For more serious cases, bunion surgery may be necessary. The surgical procedure may simply realign the big toe joint or remove the growth without aligning the joint. And in some cases, the joint may be removed entirely and replaced screws or metal plates.

Getting Help

At Great Lakes Foot & Ankle Centers, we have seen and treated countless bunions in Racine, Kenosha, and the surrounding areas. As a result, we know when to move on from non-invasive procedures to surgery. If you’ve noticed a bunion growing on your foot, give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

You can reach our Racine office at 262-884-0944. Otherwise, touch base with our bunion specialists in Kenosha at 262-652-3668.

Kenosha Office
6123 Green Bay Road, Suite 100
Kenosha, WI 53142
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Racine Office
5802 Washington Ave., Suite 202
Mount Pleasant, WI 53406
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