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Although bunions in pop culture are often perceived as something an older population endures, anyone, at any age, can develop a bunion. Typically, bunions don’t occur overnight. When they do develop, they can be unsightly, uncomfortable and even lead to discomfort simply from walking. The good news, however, is that OrthoAspen foot and ankle specialists are skilled and practiced in treating bunions.

No matter what orthopedic problem impedes the daily lifestyle and activities of our active Aspen patients, OrthoAspen strives to find the perfect solution to help return them to what they love to do most.

Causes & Symptoms

Many people are curious about what causes bunions. Most bunions occur as a result of wearing tight and ill-fitting shoes. When the “wrong” type of shoe exerts excessive pressure while walking, it creates a protuberance. This extra appendage is indeed the byproduct of bone growth, combined with a fluid-filled sac that grows at the base of the big toe. The scientifically termed hallux valgus, is most common in women—particularly those who wear tight and narrow high-heeled shoes.

Common symptoms of bunions include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain and tenderness around the big toe
  • Turning of the big toe towards the adjacent toe
  • Change in the shape of the foot
  • A bony mass at the joint surface of the big toe
  • Pain and discomfort while walking
  • Restricted movements of the big toe
  • Calloused or hardened skin on the bottom of the foot or on the actual bump

Since bunions are known to be hereditary, your OrthoAspen physician will look into any family history of bunions. In addition to a physical examination, your doctor will also delve into your past and current medical health to rule out any diabetic conditions, hypertension, circulatory disorders. In some instances a foot or ankle X-ray may be ordered to assess damage to the bone and soft tissue.


Once the presence of a bunion has been diagnosed, your doctor will recommend that you avoid wearing shoes that will further irritate or apply pressure to the bunion. Left untreated, bunions can lead to bursitis, arthritis and other complications.

Our active Aspen patients are pleased upon learning that bunions can often be treated with non-surgical remedies, which include:

  • Medications to help alleviate pain and symptoms
  • Antibiotics to avoid infection
  • Ice packs to reduce inflammation
  • Rest
  • Bunion pads, cushions and splints to protect and alleviate painful foot bunions
  • Properly-fitted shoes that match the shape of your feet

In the rare event that your doctor feels a conservative method of bunion treatment isn’t a sufficient solution, a simple surgical procedure can remove the bunion. A bunionectomy involves a simple excision to remove the bunion to restore the normal position and function of the big toe.

Moving forward, your doctor may suggest wearing wider shoes that allow more room for the toes to avoid future bunions.

Our goal at OrthoAspen is to have you back to enjoying your active lifestyle as quickly and safely as possible. If you’re concerned that you may have a bunion and would like to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists, contact us any time at 970-544-1289.


Visit OrthoAspen in two convenient locations
Aspen Clinic
Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Creek Rd., Suite 2100,

Aspen, CO 81611
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400
Basalt Clinic
Midvalley Medical Center
1450 E. Valley Rd., Suite 201,

Basalt, CO 81621
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400