Bunion Treatment

We are proud to provide a wide range of various conservative treatment options so patients from Palm Desert and our surrounding communities can find pain relief and improved functionality.

One example of this is the advanced laser therapy we offer to not only take away pain caused by soft tissue injuries, but also to help improve recovery and make it faster.

Many toe/foot/ankle conditions are effectively treated without invasive surgical intervention. When we talk about treatment, there are really two ways of thinking about this:

1. Addressing the symptoms of a condition.
2. Correcting the actual condition itself.


The reason that it is important to highlight this when we talk about bunion treatment comes down to the progressive nature of the condition.

Progressive conditions—like bunions, hammertoes, and claw toes—are ones that might be able to have their symptoms relieved via conservative measures, but the only way to actually correct them is with surgery.

Further, progressive conditions continue to progress in severity unless they are treated.

Given the “progressive” label used in conjunction with these conditions, that probably makes a lot of sense.

Since bunions and other such conditions worsen over time, it is best to address them at the earliest possible opportunity.

In this case, specifically, we may be able to prevent a toe that has started angling inwards from completely crossing over (or under) the second toe, and potentially some of the other toes (in particularly severe instances).

Before we get into treatment, let’s take a quick look at what actually happens in the case of a bunion:

This problem is not congenital (present at birth), but it is often genetic (due to inherited foot structure).

Certain characteristics, like a long second toe, flat feet, unusually loose joints, and a tendency for your foot to roll toward the inside edge when walking (overpronate), can all contribute to the development of the bump on your foot.

We have long believed that wearing the wrong type of shoes (high-heeled models with tight, cramped toe box areas) can also speed up the process too—especially if there is a family history of the condition.

Whatever the underlying reason, faulty foot mechanics put pressure on the big toe with each step and push it toward the other toes. That action causes the foot bone (metatarsal) to move in the opposite direction and bulge out on the inside edge of your foot.

The bump rubs against your shoe and becomes red and swollen. This leads to further irritation, discomfort, and pain.

Eventually, the joint stays in this pushed-out position even when at rest, and your bunion is completely formed at this point.

When you have a bunion, it pays to identify the problem and start treatment as soon as possible. This can take several forms in the early stages, including shoe choice (wider toes, low heels), stretching and strengthening exercises, night splints, buddy taping, and pain medication, if needed.

Custom Orthotic

Custom orthotics to address any gait problems or rebalance the pressure on your feet can also be helpful in stopping the progression of these conditions. The goal is to stop the deformity from getting worse and relieve your discomfort.

In cases where nonsurgical treatments fail to relieve your bunion pain—and especially when the pain of a bunion interferes with daily activities—it’s time for us to discuss bunion surgery together and determine if this is the right course of treatment for you.

When it comes to bunion surgery, there are a variety of different procedures we may use. The goal of these procedures may be to correct changes in either bone structure or the soft tissues supporting the affected joint, or to remove bone tissue. Depending on your case, we may opt to use any of:

  • Exostectomy – This procedure is rarely used by itself and is centered on removing the bump from the big toe’s metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint where the bunion exists (found at base of toe). Most often, an exostectomy is performed in conjunction with osteotomy.
  • Osteotomy – This bunion surgery uses small cuts in affected bones to help realign the MTP joint back into its natural position. Plates, pins, or screws may be used to fix the cut bone and keep everything in place.
  • Arthrodesis – Whereas this procedure is commonly used for arthritic patients, arthrodesis is sometimes used in cases where previous bunion surgery has not provided the results we were hoping to achieve. In this case, joint surfaces are removed and plates, pins, and screws hold parts in place while the affected bones mend.

Other procedures include resection arthroplasty (removal of the damage part of the joint) and ones used to repair the ligaments and tendons that surround the big toe (to correct any imbalances in the affected joint).

In selecting the procedure (or combination of procedures) to correct your bunion, we take into consideration your age, activity level, and the extent of the toe deformity based on X-rays or other diagnostic imaging results.

The length of your recovery period will depend on various factors, including the procedure or procedures we perform.

Our patients come to see us because we offer advanced solutions to the foot and ankle problems that were plaguing them – and they keep referring others to see us because our treatments are results-based and administered in effective manners.

If you need professional care for a bunion—or any other lower limb condition or injury—we will be happy to determine what is wrong through an accurate diagnosis and then create a customized treatment plan to address it for you. You can get additional information by either calling (760) 568-0108 or taking a moment right now to fill out our online contact form.

Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle
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