Bunions

Bunions are bony lumps that form on the side of the feet. Surgery is the only way to get rid of them, but there are things you can do to ease any pain they cause.

Check if you have bunions

Symptoms of bunions include:

You may also have pain along the side or bottom of your feet. This is usually worse when wearing shoes and walking.

How to ease bunion pain yourself

You cannot get rid of bunions or stop them getting worse yourself, but there are things you can do to relieve any pain:

Do

  • wear wide shoes with a low heel and soft sole

  • hold an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel) to the bunion for up to 5 minutes at a time

  • try bunion pads (soft pads you put in shoes to stop them rubbing on a bunion) – you can buy these from pharmacies

  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen

  • try to lose weight if you're overweight

Don't

  • do not wear high heels or tight, pointy shoes

See a GP if:

  • the pain has not improved after trying home treatments for a few weeks
  • the pain is stopping you doing your normal activities
  • your bunions are getting worse
  • you also have diabetes – foot problems can be more serious if you have diabetes

The GP might refer you to a foot specialist (podiatrist).

You can also pay to see a foot specialist privately.

Find a podiatrist

Treatments for a bunion from a GP or podiatrist

A GP or podiatrist can advise you about:

A GP may refer you to a surgeon if your bunions are very painful or having a big effect on your life.

Surgery is not done just to improve how your feet look.

Surgery for bunions

Surgery is the only way to get rid of bunions.

It can take a while to recover from surgery.

You'll usually need to:

After the operation:

Bunions sometimes come back after surgery.

You cannot always prevent bunions

The cause of bunions is unknown. It's not clear if you can do anything to prevent them.

It might help to: