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Living Healthy -- Common Medical Q&As;
  Bunions: Common Causes of Foot Pain

The skills of doctors of podiatric medicine are in increasing demand.  Foot disorders are among the most widespread and neglected health problems affecting people today. As more and more Americans engage in exercise and fitness programs, many people are becoming increasingly aware of the limits that foot pain places on full participation.  One of the most common causes of foot pain are bunions.  That is the topic that Gary Count, DPM, and member of the Caritas Carney Podiatry Associated discusses in the following section.   

Q. What is a bunion?

A. A bunion is a prominence of bone on the side of the foot, at the base of the big toe.

Q. Are bunions caused by wearing tight shoes?

A. Bunions are primarily inherited. We inherit our foot type (high arch, low arch), as well as bunions from parents or grandparents. Tight shoes will not cause a bunion, but they will cause it to hurt, turn red or even swell.

Q. I spend a lot of money on good shoes, so how come my bunion still hurts?

A. Shoes are made for the average foot, not for one with a big bump on the side. If you were to get a shoe big enough to fit over the bunion comfortably, you'd walk out of the shoe.  A better alternative is a shoe made of soft leather and laced instead of slip on style.

Q. Are there any ways of treating bunions?

A. Yes. If bunions are symptomatic, they can be removed surgically. This is performed in day surgery, often under local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. Following surgery, you can anticipate 6-8 weeks of recuperation. 

Q. Does medical insurance cover the removal of bunions?

A. Yes. Because it is not for cosmetic purposes, most insurances cover the surgical removal of bunions.