Bunions

Stop big toe pain in its tracks.

Living with bunion pain doesn’t have to become your new normal. Find effective relief that gets you back to doing the activities you love. The board-certified foot and ankle specialists at Henry Ford Health System offer customized treatments for bunions. Let us design a care plan that works for you.

Bunion care: Why choose Henry Ford?

As a longstanding regional leader in foot care, Henry Ford focuses on delivering treatments that are personalized to your needs. People choose us for their bunion treatment because we offer:

  • Specialized care: Our team includes both orthopedic and podiatric specialists. Their combined expertise means they treat common foot and ankle problems, as well as complex issues with muscles, bones and joints. You can get total foot and ankle care under one roof. Meet our foot and ankle team.
  • More treatment options: From custom orthotics to precise injections, we offer a range of treatments for all types of bunions. For bunions that need removal, we perform minimally invasive surgery for faster recovery and less down time.
  • Personal approach: Our specialists take the time to discuss your goals for bunion treatment before recommending a care plan. We explain what you can expect from each treatment so you can choose what best fits your life.

What is a bunion?

A bunion is a bony bump that develops on the inside of the big toe joint. It forms when the big toe is pushed inward (toward the second toe) over a prolonged period of time. The most common cause of bunions is wearing shoes that are too narrow, such as those with high heels. These shoes pinch the toes into an unnatural position.

Bunion symptoms

Symptoms of bunions include:

  • Calluses or corns on the bunion
  • Inflammation (bursitis) of the big toe joint
  • Pain and soreness in the big toe
  • Stiffness in the big toe joint

Severe bunions can make it difficult to walk. Left untreated, bunions can lead to more serious conditions such as foot and ankle arthritis.

Bunion treatments

Henry Ford’s foot and ankle specialists offer a full range of treatments, including surgery. Before recommending a plan, we take the time to get to know you and your lifestyle. After evaluating your goals for recovery, we work together to choose the therapies that are right for you.

Simply wearing shoes that fit properly may provide all the relief from bunion pain you need. Other treatment options include (non-steroidal) anti-inflammatory medications or ice packs to reduce big toe pain.

If bunion symptoms persist, we offer the following nonsurgical treatments:

  • Cortisone injections 
  • Orthotics
  • Physical therapy

Learn more about our options for nonsurgical foot and ankle treatments.

Bunion surgery

We recommend nonsurgical treatments whenever possible. However, bunions that interfere with your daily life may require surgery. The goal of any bunion surgery is to remove the bony bump and relieve the pain, allowing you to wear shoes more comfortably. Typically, our surgeons achieve this with one of several possible methods:

  • Arthrodesis: The damaged portion of the joint is removed and the bones are realigned.
  • Osteotomy: Small cuts in the big toe bone allow the joint to be repositioned.
  • Exostectomy: The bony bump on the big toe joint is removed. This is usually performed with an osteotomy or arthrodesis.

Minimally invasive bunion surgery

Henry Ford was the first program in Michigan to offer minimally invasive bunion surgery. This procedure uses extremely small incisions and a special drill to realign the joint without soft tissue damage. Thin pins or screws hold the realigned joint in place, so you usually don’t need to wear a stabilizing cast or boot afterward. A minimally invasive surgery can get you back in your shoes and on your feet faster.

It’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of any type of surgery with your doctor. Our foot specialists can tell you what to expect and answer any questions you have.

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