Because of its large, bony prominence on the outside of the big toe, the word “bunion” comes from the Greek word for “turnip.” Here’s what causes bunions—and what to do about them.

Causes & Triggers

  • Arthritis
  • Heredity
  • Polio
  • Shoe pressure caused by:
    • Prolonged wearing of poorly fitting shoes
    • Shoes with narrow, pointed toes that force toes into an unnatural, “squeezed” position

Signs & Symptoms

  • Curved or turned in big toe
  • Large, bony bump outside the big or pinky toe
  • Red, calloused skin outside the big toe
  • Toe and/or joint pain that gets worse while wearing shoes

Tips & Treatments

  • 88% of U.S. women wear their shoes too small, so seek fit over fashion.
  • 55% of U.S. women have bunions, most likely caused by improperly fitted shoes.
  • 9:1 is the ratio of bunions in women to men.
  • Relieve symptoms by avoiding causes and triggers.
  • If very painful, consider surgical intervention.