What is a bunion?

from the Old English word "bunny" (small swelling), a bunion is a bump on the inside of the big toe. When it reaches the point that the big toe points toward the little toe, it is called "hallux valgus."

What are the symptoms of a bunion?

At first, the shoe rubs against the bump and it is uncomfortable. There can also be swelling, redness or soreness around the big toe joint. Eventually, the patient cannot tolerate shoes.

Who is likely to get a bunion?

Most bunion patients are women, primarily because of too-small or too-pointy shoes. In fact, bunions are rare among non-shoe-wearing populations.

What causes a bunion?

When the patient wears ill-fitting shoes, the muscles and ligaments that position the big toe weaken. Over time, the toe points inward and a bunion protrudes.

Or, if the toe turns out as the patient walks, this puts excessive weight on the big toe and may contribute to formation of a bunion.

How is a bunion diagnosed?

The foot and ankle physicians at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush will thoroughly examine the patient’s foot. They might order an X-ray, CT scan or MRI to see the extent of the deformity.

What are the treatments for a bunion?

Non-surgical Treatment Options

The patient can help prevent bunions by wearing shoes that give her toes room and keeping her weight down.

Bunion pads can ease the discomfort caused by shoes rubbing against bunions.

Surgical Treatment Options

When non-surgical treatments do not resolve a bunion, the physician may correct the bunion with a combination of ligament and tendon procedures and sometimes a bone cutting procedure. In some cases, the physician may perform a "non-bone cutting" procedure called the Mini Tightrope surgery, which is a new procedure that is less invasive than the traditional bunionectomy. While traditional bunionectomy requires the surgeon to break or cut the bone and reposition the big toe, the Mini Tightrope uses a wire to bind the first and second toes, thus realigning the big toe.

Mini Tightrope Procedure

Developed by Dr. George Holmes of the Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush team, the new procedure requires less recovery time and causes less post-operative pain. Regardless of the type of procedure, the patient goes home the same day.