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How Untreated Bunions Can Impact Your Foot Health

Numbness in your toe Trouble bending your toe Callus or corn formation Pain and burning Hammertoes

A bunion is a common foot condition when your big toe joint pushes outward, causing a bony bump inside your foot. Bunions are slow to progress but cause significant issues when left untreated.

If you need bunion treatment, Dr. Marque A. Allen and the Sports Medicine Associates of San Antonio team have the tools to help. Dr. Allen is an expert podiatrist with unrivaled experience in foot and ankle surgery.

Signs and symptoms of bunions

A bunion is also known as a hallux valgus. It happens when your big toe joint becomes misaligned after years of pressure on that joint. The result is a bump that protrudes from your big toe, often red and painful.

You can have a bunion on one or both feet or the outside of your foot by your pinky toe. The bunion that forms on the outside of your pinky toe is called a Tailor's bunion or a bunionette.

There are other signs and symptoms of a bunion besides a bony bump. Some of the other signs you have a bunion include the following:

If you have a bunion, it's also difficult to wear regular shoes without the bump rubbing and causing pain. Although a bunion forms slowly, it causes significant complications when you don't get it treated early.

Untreated bunions — what are the risks?

While a bunion may seem like only a nuisance, it's much more than that. An untreated bunion will only continue to get worse and can cause several complications, which include the following:

Crossover toe

Crossover toe is a condition you're at risk for when you leave your bunion untreated. When you have a crossover toe, your second toe moves on top of your big toe, making it difficult to wear shoes and walk.


Long-term damage in your big toe joint leads to osteoarthritis over time. This type of arthritis causes the breakdown of protective tissues in your joint, causing pain and discomfort in your toe.

Chronic pain

Arthritis, bursitis, and other complications related to untreated bunions can lead to chronic pain in your feet and big toe joint. The pain can be unbearable at times, especially while walking.


Bursitis is a painful condition that continues as long as you have an untreated bunion. Bursa is a tiny fluid-filled sac that surrounds and cushions the joints in your body. However, when it becomes inflamed, bursitis is the result.

Bone spurs and hammertoes are other complications of untreated bunions. The best way to avoid these complications is to get treatment when you notice a bunion starting.

Taking control of your foot health

If you're at risk for bunions or already have one forming, you must take care of your feet to avoid complications later. When you already have a bunion, taking steps to get treatment is the best way to keep it from getting worse.

Treatment for bunions varies significantly, depending on the severity of the deformity and how it's affecting your daily activities. It's important to understand that bunions don't go away. Still, there are steps you can take to ease discomfort, including:

The only surefire way to rid yourself of a bunion is with surgery. Typically, surgery is an option when other conservative measures haven't treated your discomfort or pain. Dr. Allen evaluates your bunion to determine the best treatment route.

During bunion surgery, Dr. Allen removes the bunion and realigns the metatarsal bone in your foot to move the big toe back into the proper alignment. After surgery and recovery, you should feel significant relief from your discomfort before the procedure.

Call the Sports Medicine Associates office most convenient to you today to get care for a bunion. You can also request an appointment with Dr. Allen on our website.

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