How are bunions treated?

Non-surgical treatments

Non-surgical treatments for bunions may include:

  • Wearing shoes that fit and that have adequate toe room.
  • Stretching shoes professionally to make them larger.
  • Putting bunion pads over the bunion to cushion the pain.
  • Avoiding activities that cause pain, such as being on your feet for long periods of time.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers when necessary, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen.
  • Using ice to provide relief from inflammation and pain.
  • Using custom-made orthotic devices.

Surgical treatments

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.

Many bunion correction procedures can be done on a same-day basis. The type of procedure will depend on your physical health, the extent of the foot deformity, your age, and your activity level. The recovery time will depend on which procedure or procedures are performed.

Surgery may be recommended to correct a tailor’s bunion, but is unlikely to be recommended for an adolescent bunion.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/31/2016.


  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Bunions Accessed 10/31/2016.
  • American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Bunions Accessed 10/31/2016.

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