Generally, observation is adequate to diagnose a bunion, as the bump is obvious on the side of the foot or base of the big toe. However, your physician may order X-rays that will show the extent of the deformity of the foot. How are bunions treated? Surgery might be recommended if non-surgical treatments fail to provide relief, and you are having trouble walking or are in extreme pain. Surgery can be used to return the big toe to its correct anatomical position. During surgery, bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves are put back into correct order, and the bump is removed. Conservative non-surgical treatments include modification in shoe selection, such as shoes that are wider and take pressure off the deformity. Sometimes physical therapy can be helpful in relieving flare ups. If the pain is limited to the large bump and associated bursitis, a cortisone injection may be helpful. I am not big on cushions and braces that are sold for this condition because in most cases they just take up more space in the shoe and put more pressure on the bump. My only exception to this is in people who are experiencing "joint pain". Wearing a night splint may relieve some of the discomfort. The last bunion treatment is surgery There are different types of surgical procedures that can be performed, and most require 6 to 8 full weeks of recovery. The surgeon may cut the tendon that is pulling the joint out of alignment, then shave off the part of the bone that is protruding. A scar remains with the surgery and the redness of a bunion may still be seen in some cases. In the photo here of one 65-year-old man who had bunion surgery, the amount of correction made still left him with bunions! There is also a condition called tailor’s bunion or bunionette. This type of bump differs from a bunion in terms of the location. A tailor’s bunion is found near the base of the little toe on the outside of the foot. What are the symptoms of bunions? Bunions may be hereditary, as they often run in families. This suggests that people may inherit a faulty foot shape. In addition, footwear that does not fit properly may cause bunions. Bunions are made worse by tight, poorly-fitting, or too-small shoes. Bunions may also happen due to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Who gets bunions? When the above non-surgical treatment options have not worked, the health care provider will suggest undergoing a bunion surgery to correct the dislocation. The surgery can be performed by an orthopedic surgeon, who will loosen the tight tissues and shorten the long ones, so as to repair the tendons and ligaments present around the toe. Severe bunions can be corrected with the use of wires, plates and screws. There are different types of surgical procedures and the best procedure for you will be told to you by your surgeon. Bunion surgeries cannot be guaranteed for a total recovery. Often calluses and corns are developed as post operative complications.