A leading podiatrist with over 30 years of experience, Ernest Levi, DPM, of Grand Central Podiatry in the Midtown East neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, is an expert in alleviating bunion pain. Serving patients throughout New York City, Dr. Levi advises on both conservative and surgical options for bunion treatments. To find out more about the different treatment options for bunions, call or schedule an appointment online.
A bunion is a bump that develops at the base of the joint of the big toe. This deformity, which is more common in women than men, is actually a misalignment of the big toe joint that causes the big toe to rotate inward towards the other toes. Bunions can become red and inflamed and lead to other foot problems, such as hammertoe.
However, some patients with bunions do not experience any pain. Bunions and many other foot problems typically worsen with age. A less common type of bunion called a bunionette can develop at the joint at the base of the smallest toe.
Bunions are often inherited but can also be caused by foot injuries and certain kinds of arthritis, especially inflammatory types such as rheumatoid arthritis. It isn’t entirely clear whether ill-fitting shoes actually cause bunions or merely exacerbate the condition.
Dr. Levi always favors starting with conservative options when treating bunions, as well as all foot and ankle problems. When bunion pain is not constant or severe, it may be alleviated by switching to roomier shoes, using padded shoe inserts to help more evenly distribute the weight on your feet, or by padding or splinting the big toe into a normal position.
Certain medications can also be helpful, including over-the-counter pain relievers and cortisone injections.
Surgery is only recommended if your bunions cause frequent pain that conservative approaches have been unsuccessful in remedying. It should never be used for cosmetic reasons or to prevent bunions from becoming larger. When surgery is recommended, the specific procedure performed will be determined by Dr. Levi, based on the size and shape the bunions. Most often, bunion surgery involves correcting the alignment of the bone of the big toe.