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What Does Bunion Pain Feel Like

If you’ve never experienced a bunion before, you might wonder “what does bunion pain feel like?” Those who have had a bunion can attest that the pain and discomfort ranges from mild to severe. A bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe, caused by the shifting of the bones that make up the big toe joint. This shift results in the protrusion of a bony lump on the side of the foot.  

The Pain and Discomfort of Bunions

For many, “what does bunion pain feel like?” starts with a dull ache or soreness at the base of the big toe. This area may feel stiff, tender and swollen, especially after long periods of standing or walking. The swelling itself can cause the bunion to rub against the inside of shoes, leading to further irritation, inflammation and pain.

As the bunion progresses and the big toe leans inward more, the bony protrusion becomes larger and harder. This can make it extremely painful to wear anything but the roomiest of shoes. The constant friction and pressure of the bunion rubbing on shoes can cause the formation of corns or calluses on the bump itself and on the tops and side of the toe. These thick layers of skin are the body’s attempt to protect itself but can be unsightly and make the situation even more uncomfortable.

In addition to the localized pain at the site of the bunion, many people experience shooting pains along the inside of their foot that make it difficult to bear weight. The misalignment of the bones can also lead to strain and pain in the ball of the foot. Some bunion sufferers even develop hammertoes or other toe deformities due to the inward drift of the big toe bone pushing on the other toes.

So in summary, “what does bunion pain feel like?” can involve dull aching, swelling, stiffness, shooting pains, corns/calluses, and discomfort simply from wearing shoes and walking. The degree of pain ranges from mild to severe and can significantly impact a person’s mobility and quality of life.

Causes and Risk Factors for Bunions

While anyone can develop a bunion, there are some factors that increase the risk:

  • Genetics – Those with a hereditary defect in foot anatomy or a tendency to roll the foot inwards are more prone to bunions.
  • Foot Injuries – Injuries that misalign the foot bones make it easier for bunions to form over time.  
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – This disease can absolutely contribute to bunion development.
  • Occupations Involving Lots of Standing – Workers who spend long hours on their feet may develop bunions faster.
  • Improper Footwear – Shoes that are too tight, too narrow or too flat in the front put excessive pressure on the toes.

In many cases, bunions are harder to treat the longer they go unaddressed. Seeking professional help from the experienced team at Arizona Foot can prevent a mild bunion from becoming severe and debilitating.

Top-Notch Bunion Treatment in Scottsdale

Located at 7304 E Deer Valley Road Ste #100 in Scottsdale, Arizona Foot has been providing expert diagnosis and treatment of bunions and other foot conditions for years. Our podiatrists utilize advanced techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to carefully evaluate each patient’s unique condition.

For mild or moderate bunions, our treatment typically starts with conservative methods aimed at reducing pain and preventing the bunion from worsening. Some of the non-surgical options we may recommend include:

Footwear Modifications – We can suggest roomier shoes with a wide toe box to accommodate the bunion without excessive friction. Custom orthotics may also be prescribed to improve foot support and alignment.

Medications – Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve bunion swelling and pain. Cortisone injections are another option for temporary relief.  

Bunion Pads & Splints – Gel-filled or moleskin pads can act as a buffer between the bunion and shoe. Nighttime splints may be used to stabilize the toe and halt the progression of the deformity.

Physical Therapy – Specific stretches and exercises can sometimes ease bunion pain, increase flexibility and slow the changes to the toe joint.

When bunions have progressed to the point where conservative treatments are no longer effective, surgery may be the best solution for long-term relief. The team at Arizona Foot has extensive experience with the latest minimally invasive and open surgical techniques to correct bunion deformities.   

During bunion surgery, the prominent “bump” on the foot is removed by shaving away the excess bone. The big toe is also repositioned towards proper alignment. This corrects the abnormal drifting that allows the toe joint to return to its normal position.

Arizona Foot: The Bunion Experts You Can Trust 

At our Scottsdale office at 480.342.9999, you’ll find the area’s leading podiatrists and most comprehensive bunion care. From conservative treatment to advanced reconstructive procedures, our team has the skill and experience to put an end to your bunion woes.

Don’t let bunion pain keep you from the activities you love. Take the first step by contacting Arizona Foot today. One of our friendly staff members will be happy to answer any questions you may have about “what does bunion pain feel like?” and guide you through the process of finding much-needed relief.

No matter how mild or severe your bunion discomfort, the experts at Arizona Foot have treatment solutions to eliminate pain and restore the healthy alignment of your feet and toes. Reach out now to get started on your journey towards being bunion free!


Dr. Kris Dinucci