7 Bumbling Bunion Myths Debunked

Bunions are bony bumps that form at the base of the big toe, typically forcing the big toe to protrude toward the second toe. They are a common ailment that currently affects approximately 5.2 million Americans.

With so many people living with this deformity, it’s easy to see how misinformation about bunions can spread like wildfire across the internet. Thankfully, we’re here to help. Check out the seven common bunion myths that we have effectively debunked:

Myth #1: Bunion surgery is insanely painful.

Fact: Pain following any surgery—including bunion—can be managed with medication and other treatment modalities (e.g., physical therapy, cold application, etc.). Every person tolerates pain differently, so what may be “insanely painful” for one person may just be moderately uncomfortable for another.

In short, pain is in the eye of the beholder (or, in this case, the foot).

Myth #2: Bunion surgery is better in the summer because you can be barefoot or wear sandals.

Fact: Unless you commonly enjoy putting your post-surgical body parts on display for all to see, summer might not be the best option. Winter is more ideal, so your foot is kept out of sight and away from potential germs.

Myth #3: Only women get bunions.

Fact: Nope. While it is true that bunions are more common among women (thanks, pointy shoes), it has been shown that approximately 13 percent of people with bunions are men. Sorry, fellas.

Myth #4: Bunions aren’t hereditary.

Fact: Well, yes and no. Certain hereditary traits passed through families regarding the way the shape and structure of the foot form can predispose you to develop bunions, but don’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll get them. Other factors, such as shoe wear and activity level, also play a part.

So, if you’re really looking for someone to blame for your bunions, you can technically point the finger at your folks. 

Myth #5: Surgery is the only way to treat bunions.

Fact: False. Although surgery is the only way to remove a bunion, there are a lot of ways to relieve bunion pain without stepping foot into an operating room. For example, you could wear wider and more comfortable shoes, have steroid injections performed or place pads in your shoes to cushion the bunion and reduce pain.

Myth #6: Bunions can reoccur after surgery.

Fact: As the saying goes, anything is possible, but it’s unlikely the bunion will reappear after surgery. It’s conceivable if you happen to have what is known as excessive motion of the foot, predisposing you to bunion reformation. Or, that the surgery chosen was not the best fit for your particular bunion. That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced podiatrist to ensure all treatments—especially surgery—are tailored to your individual needs.

Myth #7: Splinting your toe can correct a bunion.

Fact: Placing a splint on your deformed toe can help manage the pain, but it will not fix the bunion. Ultimately, treatment will depend on the severity of your deformity (among other factors). Speak to a specialist about what treatment options work best for you. 

And while we’re on the subject of splints: Do not attempt to fashion a homemade splint using common household items. There are plenty of effective ones you can purchase in-store and online if you’re in the market.

For more information about bunions or to schedule an appointment, contact Essex Union Podiatry today.