What Happens if I Leave a Bunion Untreated?


When a bunion first forms, it often seems pretty benign, but if left alone for too long, a bunion can become a real pain! Bunions form as bony enlargements on the joint to the side of your big toe. As they grow, they push the big toe out of its normal alignment, shoving the other toes as well. Your toes eventually become painfully stiff and the pressure causes other issues to arise.

Issues associated with untreated bunions:

  • Pain – as the bunion grows, so will the pain!

  • Foot deformities – often hammertoes will form on the second toe and corns or calluses will arise from the pressure.

  • Ingrown toenails – the force of the big toe can cause ingrown toenails.

The beginning – what causes bunions?

Although they are not considered genetic conditions, bunions can be caused by the foot shape and mechanics passed down in your family. One of the main causes of bunions is wearing shoes that are too tight for your feet. Other conditions such as flat feet can leave your feet more susceptible to bunions as well.

Well, how DO I treat a bunion?

Good question! Your podiatrist will help you find the best treatment for your condition. Dr. Stuart Snyder here at Maple Springs Foot Center will likely use one of these treatment methods:

  • Braces that will help align your big toe

  • Orthotic inserts to redistribute pressure and relieve pain

  • Switching to a properly-fitting pair of shoes with a wider toe box that gives your toes more room to move

  • Removing high heeled shoes from your rotation

  • Practice toe exercises to increase flexibility and strength

If you leave a bunion untreated, it may have grown beyond the point where the above measures can be effective. In this case, surgical bunion removal and bone realignment could be a viable option.

If you are dealing with a bunion, call us today. Dr. Stuart Snyder at Maple Springs Foot Center can help assess and treat any foot or ankle issues you might be experiencing. To get in touch, request an appointment online or call our office conveniently located in Gaithersburg, MD at 301-762-3338.