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Our Services / Bunions

Orthopaedic Specialists located in Bloomfield Hills and Clarkston, MI

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Bunions are painful lumps on your feet that arise from a misalignment of the big toe. If you have a bunion, the experienced providers at Orthopedic Specialists of Oakland County can help. They use a variety of non-surgical methods to relieve bunion pain and advanced surgical techniques to realign the bones in patients with severe bunions. To find the right treatment for your bunions, call the office in Bloomfield Hills or Clarkston, Michigan, or book an appointment online today.

What are bunions?

A bunion looks like a bony growth on the base of your big toe, but it’s actually a result of misaligned structures in your foot. Bunions develop gradually when pressure on your big toe forces it in toward your second toe. The base of the big toe then pushes out, causing the lumpy bunion.

Bunions tend to increase in size and may become red, swollen, and have tight, shiny skin. As a bunion gets bigger, it starts to press against the inside of your shoes and rub, which makes it sore and tender. Large bunions can make walking painful.

What causes a bunion?

Some people have feet that are more prone to developing bunions because of their structure. Inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and neuromuscular disorders such as polio can also increase your chances of getting a bunion.

One of the leading risk factors for bunions is wearing poorly-fitting footwear. Shoes with narrow, pointed toes and high heels force your toes into unnatural positions that encourage bunion formation.

How are bunions treated?

Bunions usually respond well to non-surgical treatments. While these approaches can’t cure the bunion, they do reduce pain and stop your bunion from getting worse. Treatment strategies Orthopedic Specialists of Oakland County uses include:

Footwear changes

It’s often possible to reduce bunion pain by changing to well-fitting shoes that don’t compress your toes.


Padding may help cushion a painful bunion but must be used with care to avoid adding extra pressure.


Orthotics are inserts you put in your shoes. Custom-made orthotics are best for taking the pressure off your bunion.

Spacers and splints

Toe spacers between your toes or a splint you wear at night help straighten the big toe to relieve pain.


Applying an ice pack several times during the day for 20 minutes helps relieve swelling.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) work by relieving pain and reducing inflammation.

Would I need surgery for my bunion?

If non-surgical treatments aren’t relieving your pain and you’re having difficulty walking, surgery might be necessary.

Bunion surgery typically involves performing an osteotomy, where your surgeon at Orthopedic Specialists of Oakland County cuts and realigns the bones in your big toe. They also tighten or shorten the ligaments and tendons where necessary to keep the toe in the right position.

Another option is arthrodesis, which involves removing joint surfaces affected by arthritis and using screws, plates, or wires to keep the bones in position until they heal. Arthrodesis can help patients with severe bunions or arthritis and those whose previous bunion surgery has been unsuccessful.

The sooner you get help with your bunion, the less likely you are to need surgery. For prompt treatment, call Orthopedic Specialists of Oakland County or book an appointment online today.