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The Sunset Foot Clinic

Podiatry & Foot & Ankle Surgery located in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA, Sherman Oaks, CA, & Whittier, CA

A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of your big toe. You may think of it as a minor discomfort, but over time, a bunion can cause difficulties with walking or wearing shoes and even change the structure of your foot. At The Sunset Foot Clinic in Los Angeles, board-certified podiatrist Thomas Lim, DPM, can help you adapt to bunions and permanently correct them with minimally invasive surgery. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone. The clinic has eight convenient locations throughout Silver Lake, Beverly Hills, Sherman Oaks, Northridge, La Palma, Whittier, Ontario, and Downey, California.

Bunion Q & A

What are bunions?

A bunion is a painful, bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. The area around the bump may be painful, swollen, or red, and these symptoms get worse when there’s something pressing against the bump, like too-tight shoes. 

Bunions develop gradually. At first, your big toe presses against your second toe instead of pointing straight ahead. This forces your big toe joint to stick out, causing a bony bump to form.

You may find bunions unsightly, but they’re more than just a cosmetic problem. When left untreated, bunions usually get worse, causing constant pain and difficulties with walking and wearing shoes. Eventually, bunions can change the alignment and structure of your foot, so be sure to schedule an appointment at The Sunset Foot Clinic if you have one, even if it’s only causing minor discomfort.

What causes bunions?

Bunions usually develop for two primary reasons: genetics and footwear. If you’re born with flat feet or big toes that point inward, you’re at a higher risk of developing bunions. Many people who develop bunions have a family history of them.

Not everyone with flat feet or an inward-pointing big toe develops bunions. Usually, your footwear also plays a role. If you wear shoes that crowd your toes, you’re at a greater risk.

Bunions are more common among women than men, and the reason for this isn’t strictly medical. Women’s shoe styles like high heels and stilettos force the toes into uncomfortable, narrow positions, causing bunions to form over time. However, anyone can develop bunions, and simply wearing shoes that are too small for your feet can have the same effect.

How are bunions treated?

To prevent bunions from getting worse, be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lim as soon as you notice a bump at the base of your big toe. Even if the bunion doesn’t hurt now, it’ll get worse if you don’t change your footwear. Bunions are easiest to treat in their early stages.

If you get treatment for your bunion early enough, you may be able to correct it simply by changing your footwear. Your shoes should have enough room in the toe box that you can move your toes. Dr. Lim can recommend appropriate footwear, including custom-made orthotics, which can improve the alignment of your toes, relieve pressure on your bunion, and stop the bunion from getting worse.

If your bunion doesn’t respond to conservative treatment, or you’re having difficulty walking, Dr. Lim performs minimally invasive surgery to correct bunions. In this outpatient procedure, he fixes the alignment of your toe using only a few small incisions.

Don’t wait until a bunion causes severe pain to get treatment. Schedule an appointment at The Sunset Foot Clinic online or over the phone.