With a course of conservative treatment consisting of anti-inflammatory medications, wider shoes, bunion shields and, occasionally, orthotics, the pain associated with the bunion may be alleviated and surgery can be delayed. Surgical correction, if indicated, is aimed at realigning the first metatarsal with the second.

Many patients will be able to wear comfortably fitting shoes within six to eight weeks, but a return to full activity might take up to three to six months.

A bunion deformity is a structural deformity caused by abnormal biomechanics in which the first metatarsal drifts away from the second metatarsal. This causes the big toe (hallux) to drift towards the second toe. The result is a bump or prominence of the inside aspect of the foot and the big toe hitting up against the second toe.