Twin Falls and Burley Foot Doctors Encourage You to Stop Bunion Pain Before It Stops You

Bunions, or hallux valgus, are bony bumps that develop on the side of the foot at the base of the metatarsophalangeal joint—the big toe joint. They’re usually caused by structural issues within the feet. When you have a bunion, your big toe gradually moves further inward, sometimes even on top of the second toe, while the base of the joint shifts outward. Without correction, a bunion will continue to create issues with proper shoe fittings and walking, and may even cause further foot deformity. 

The experienced podiatrists at Canyon Foot + Ankle recommend treating bunions before they start to cause problems. We offer many types of solutions, including bunion surgery and other alternatives. Here’s what might help you.

Why Do We Develop Bunions? two-feet-one-with-bunion

Some people are at greater risk for bunion formation because they:

  • Inherited a problem foot shape
  • Sprained or fractured their big toe, creating misalignment
  • Wear shoes that are too tight
  • Suffer from a congenital defect
  • Have arthritis or gout
  • Have a profession that places great pressure on their feet

Conservative Treatment Options for Bunions

At Canyon Foot + Ankle, our Magic Valley foot doctors try to help our patients avoid surgery whenever possible, especially if bunion symptoms can be effectively managed with conservative methods. While these options won’t make bunions go away, they might slow their progression. Tips for caring for your bunions at home include:   

  • Elevating your feet
  • Applying a cold compress or bag of frozen vegetables several times per day
  • Performing exercises and stretches to decrease pain and stiffness and improve stability
  • Selecting roomy, comfortable footwear instead of high heels or tighter-fitting shoes
  • Using padding, toe splints, insoles, or orthotics to reduce pressure on the bunion
  • Temporarily relieving pain and inflammation with over-the-counter medications, injections, or laser therapy 

Signs You Might Need Bunion Surgery

Not all bunions require surgical treatment. Unfortunately, if the issue is more severe, the only way to remove a bunion and treat related issues with misalignment is with reconstructive surgery. Talk with one of our podiatrists today if you notice: 

  • Pain that interferes with daily life. It may be caused by pressure from the bump rubbing against your shoes, your big toe crowding your second toe, and/or on the ball of your foot.
  • An inability to walk more than a few blocks, even in athletic shoes, without significant irritation.
  • Chronic swelling, stiffness, and pain in the toe and bunion bump. 
  • Constant discomfort when wearing normal shoes.
  • Pain that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medications.
  • Stress in other areas of the foot resulting from the bunion and structural imbalance. 

Even if surgery is necessary, the more conservative options listed above may be used before and/or after the surgical procedure to reduce recovery time and manage pain.

Canyon Foot + Ankle’s Surgical Options for Treating Bunions

There are a dozen different surgeries that can be used to treat a bunion, and more options are being added all the time. At our offices in Burley and Twin Falls, our podiatrists and support team stay on top of the latest innovations for treating our clients’ needs. Here are three specific surgical procedures we use to treat bunions. 


In this procedure, bones are cut and realigned to the proper position. Historically, this approach created a lot of lingering pain and required a lengthy recovery. Now, depending on the severity of the bunion placement, an osteotomy causes less trauma to bone and surrounding tissue and uses smaller incisions, resulting in less pain and more rapid recovery. Tendons and ligaments may also be corrected at this time to maximize results.

Arthrodesis Procedures 

Patients with arthritis or a history of unsuccessful bunion surgery are often considered for arthrodesis, which fuses bones together to stabilize joints and reduce pain. Many people experience less recovery time with this procedure, but it might not be recommended for people who have diabetes or who smoke. 


An arthritic joint is replaced with an implant in a process that often reduces recovery time over more traditional surgical options and may create less trauma to nearby tissues.

Regardless of which type of bunion surgery is recommended for your condition, plan for a lengthy recovery period—6 to 12 weeks is about average, but for some cases, it could be longer. At Canyon Foot + Ankle, we provide detailed post-operative instructions to help you focus on healing well. Staying dedicated to this aftercare will also help reduce the likelihood of recurrence, which happens in about 20 percent of bunion surgery cases. 

Questions to Ask Your Podiatrist About Bunion Surgery and Alternatives

When you meet with one of our foot and ankle specialists at Canyon Foot + Ankle, we do whatever we can to put you at ease and give you comprehensive information to make good choices about your care. This includes answering any questions you might have, such as:

  • If less invasive treatments are likely to be effective for you
  • Benefits and risks for whatever treatments we might recommend
  • Possibly complications that could occur and how likely they are
  • If your surgery requires a hospital stay
  • How painful your surgery and recovery might be
  • What pain relief options are available during and after surgical procedures
  • How much time you’ll need to be off of work
  • When you can return to wearing regular shoes 
  • How long should you expect full recovery to take
  • If you’ll still need to restrict the types of shoes you can wear after recovery
  • What preventative measures you should follow to avoid recurrence
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