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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The term bunion refers to the bump that grows on the side of the first joint of the big toe.

Bunions can often occur in those who wear high heels or cowboy boots. Bunions can be painful and will worsen without treatment.

Marshfield Clinic employs specialists who are trained in treatment of bunions and other deformities of the foot.


In most cases, your doctor will recommend non-surgical procedures to relieve your pain. Those treatments may include:

Non-surgical treatments

Simply changing to shoes that are wider and less pointed will usually decrease the pressure on the bunion and stop its progression.

Using ice packs at regular intervals on a daily basis can help to reduce pain and swelling.

The combination of non-steroidal medication and soaking the feet in a solution of warm water and vinegar can also be effective.

Physical Therapy
Pain relief may include physical therapy on the affected region to build up strength and flexibility.

Assistance Devices

Walkers, canes and other assistive devices may be helpful as a support mechanism.

Your physician may also recommend support devices like bunion pads and toe spacers to reduce pain and pressure on the affected area.


When non-surgical options prove unsuccessful, your doctor may suggest a surgical approach to remove the bunion and realign the bones of the big toe. The surgery, known as a bunionectomy, can take two forms:

  • The most common technique is to surgically fracture and realign the big toe using pins, screws or wires to stabilize the bones of the toe.
  • In another procedure, a wedge-shaped piece of bone from the affected joint is removed, straightening the angle of the toe. Again, hardware is used for stabilization.​
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How Much Do You Know About Foot Health?

Most people would agree that it's no small problem when their feet ache. Yet few other parts of the body are more neglected in terms of basic personal care. And major foot problems and chronic pain often go ignored. Learning about foot care can help you recognize when to see a healthcare provider for treatment.

1. You should inspect your feet regularly.
2. Trim your toenails to follow the curve of your toe.
3. For people who don't have circulation problems, it's safe to use over-the-counter remedies for foot ailments such as corns or warts.
4. Having a pedicure can treat foot problems.
5. You shouldn't wear the same pair of shoes for two or more days in a row.
6. High heels frequently cause foot problems in women.
7. Years of wearing narrow shoes that squeeze the toes together can cause bunions.