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Bunions affect more than 35% of adults over 65 and almost a quarter of all younger adults, as well. A bunion is evidence of a joint deviation, which means it requires professional care. At Neighborhood Foot and Ankle, our skilled podiatrists treat bunions with conservative and surgical care based on your symptoms. Call today to schedule your appointment at one of our offices with Dr. Jonathan Pajouh.

What Is a Bunion?

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion, or hallux abductovalgus, is a bony deformity that occurs when the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, located at the base of the big toe, becomes enlarged and misaligned. Bone often grows over this MTP joint, which restricts movement and worsens the bump. Your big toe moves toward the second toe, and in severe cases, moves on top of or underneath it. These bony bumps that formed on the joint of the big toe can be severe enough to make the big toe push against the other toes and cause the joint to become swollen and painful.

Bunions can cause significant discomfort and pain, and they often make it difficult to wear shoes that fit closely around the forefoot. Even if your bunion doesn’t cause any symptoms, it’s a foot deformity that can be unsightly and embarrassing. The good news is that bunions can be treated. Many people with bunions opt for non-surgical treatments, such as orthotics and padding, to reduce the pain and pressure on the joint. For more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the structure of the foot. During surgery, the bunion is removed and the bones in the foot are realigned to restore the normal shape of the foot.

Do Tight Shoes Cause Bunions?

Picture of Bunion

No, tight shoes aren’t a direct cause of bunions. Bunions develop even among members of primitive tribes who never wear shoes. Genetics tends to play a large part in the development of bunions. Bunions can be inherited from family members who have them, and certain foot structures, such as flat feet, can make people more prone to developing bunions. In addition, tight shoes can accelerate bunion development if you already have an abnormal foot structure and poor foot mechanics that do cause bunions.

It is important to wear shoes that fit properly and provide adequate width and support for your feet. Shoes with a wide toe box are best, as they allow the toes to spread out and reduce the pressure on the toe joint. If you have a bunion, it is also important to wear supportive shoes that provide cushioning and arch support.

Shoes that are too tight put pressure on the toe joint, which can cause the bones to shift out of alignment and form a bunion. Shoes with a narrow toe box can also cause bunions, as they squeeze the toes together and put pressure on the joint. High-heeled shoes are another culprit in the acceleration of bunions. High heels put extra pressure on the toes and can cause the toes to bend in towards each other, resulting in a quicker formation of a bunion.

Discover the Signs of a Developing Bunion

Do Tight Shoes Cause Bunions?

Discovering the signs of a developing bunion is important, as early detection and treatment can help to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with bunions. Some common signs of a bunion include swelling and redness at the base of the big toe, a painful bump on the side of the foot, and difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time.

Most often, this complex foot deformity typically develops in three ways:

Picture of Do Tight Shoes Cause Bunions


Abnormal foot structure and poor foot mechanics overload your first metatarsal bone, which is just below your MTP joint. This overload stretches and weakens your ligaments and joint capsule (the layers covering your joint) to cause the first metatarsal bone to lean sideways.


The sideways lean causes the bunion bump to grow prominent. In turn, this often causes your first metatarsal bone and MTP joint to elevate and transfer the load to the rest of your foot. This can cause serious pain in the ball of your foot and walking problems.


As your bunion progresses, you also have abnormal tendon strain that pushes your big toe farther out of position.

These three factors are often present at the same time, which is why bunions require specialized treatment to prevent further damage to the foot. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to schedule your appointment at Neighborhood Foot and Ankle to have your bunion examined and start a treatment plan. Early detection and treatment of bunions can help to reduce pain and improve mobility.

The Connection Between Bunions and Athletes

Athletes are expected to put their all into their sport however, the various movements from twists, turns, jumps, and sprints can take a toll on their feet. This exertion on their feet tends to repeatedly place stress on the big toe joint, which then causes a bunion to form.

Even with genetics as a major contributor to bunions, injuries and repeated stress on the big toe joint are a major concern. In addition, poorly fitting or tight shoes do not provide enough support for the toe joint and can accelerate bunion development.

Many athletes do well with conservative treatment, especially if they are seen during the early stages of bunion growth. Your podiatric foot and ankle surgeon at Neighborhood Foot and Ankle will create a treatment plan that involves the proper orthotic support, how to get proper fitting footwear, and ways to prevent future damage to the big toe joint.

Overcome Your Bunion Pain with Podiatry Treatments

For early to mild stages of development, your bunion can be treated with conservative measures, such as bunion pads and functional foot orthotics. It is also important to replace your tight shoes with wide supportive shoes that provide cushioning and arch support. This treatment plan can help reduce the stress placed on your first metatarsal bone and MTP joint.

If conservative care doesn’t relieve your bunion pain or your bunion deformity is severe, surgery is usually the best solution. Only surgery can correct structural issues and relieve symptoms in the long term. At Neighborhood Foot and Ankle, our surgeons perform both Minimally Invasive bunion surgery and the Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction™ and Bunionectomy. These two options will remove the bunion and allow the bones in the foot to realign and restore the normal shape of your foot.

Lapiplasty® 3D Bunion Correction™ is our most popular procedure and allows the Dr. Jonathan Pajouh to correct all three aspects of the bunion deformity, including bone misalignment, elevation, and rotation. This advanced procedure offers several benefits, including a shorter recovery time, less pain and swelling, and improved mobility.

  • Before Lapiplasty

    Before Lapiplasty®

    Bunions are complex, 3D deformities caused by an unstable joint in the middle of the foot that allows your bone to drift out of alignment.

  • After Lapiplasty

    After Lapiplasty®

    Advanced surgical technology returns your entire bone to normal 3D alignment and the unstabe joint is secured with patented, titanium plates to get back on your feet in <2 weeks (in a walking boot)

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