Bunions:Why is the lump or bump on my toe so painful? What could it be?

bunion1smThe big toe can develop a lump or bump on the inside of the foot. This prominence initially becomes painful in shoes from pressure, but if left untreated arthritis will set in. The lump on the inside of the foot at the base of the great toe is called a bunion. Often mistakenly referred to as a growth of bone, the cause of a bunion is really the result of an unstable joint. The loss of stability in the big toe joint causes the bone behind the big toe to drift inward leading to the lump or bump. The more the bone drifts, the more your big toe falls toward the second toe.

How the joint becomes unstable is related to the way your foot hits the ground when you walk. A detailed examination of your feet while standing and walking is needed to determine why your foot is unstable. If caught early custom molded foot orthoses can restore stability to the joint and prevent further damage.


If painful, damage to the joint has already occurred. Custom molded foot orthoses will restore stability to the joint, which can improve pain, but usually therapy involving anti-inflammatory medication is needed as well. When pain does not respond to stabilizing the foot, surgery is needed. The goal of surgery is to provide stability to the joint from within preventing further damage. This is accomplished by moving the bone that has shifted back into line with the big toe. The more the bone needs to be shifted, the longer the recovery. So getting treatment early is always recommended.

Dr. Stephen Geller, DPM , AZ Podiatrist