The exact cause of bunions is not known. Genes may play a role.

Risk Factors

Bunions are more common in women and older adults. They are also more common in people who have family members with bunions. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • A personal or family history of foot deformities
  • Flat feet that put too much weight on the big toe joint
  • Inflammatory joint problems, such as psoriatic arthritis and gout



Bunions may cause:

  • Pain in the big toe and second toe
  • Problems moving the big toe
  • Redness and swelling
  • A firm lump on the inside edge of the foot at the base of the big toe


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A foot exam will be done. It is diagnosed based on the exam.



The goal of treatment is to ease pain and improve movement. Options are:

Supportive Care

It is important to ease pressure on the bunion. This may be done with:

  • Padding
  • Shoes that are wide and deep
  • Shoe inserts


Prescription or over the counter medicines may be given to ease pain.


Surgery may be done if other treatments have not helped. It can remove the bony lump. The joint may also be realigned.


There are no methods to lower the risk of getting a bunion.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.