Are Bunions a Hereditary Foot Problem?

Bunions represent a prevalent foot deformity known for inducing pain and discomfort. Marked by the formation of a bony protrusion at the base of the big toe, this condition results in the big toe angling inward toward the adjacent toes. 

As we try to know more about foot health, it’s crucial to explore the question: Are bunions a hereditary foot problem?  

Bunions have the potential to manifest on either foot, yet they are predominantly observed in women.  

Although the precise cause of bunions remains elusive, genetics is widely recognised as a significant contributing factor. A substantial risk factor for developing bunions is having a family history of this condition. 


What is the Role of Genetics in Bunions?

Genetic factors can impact the shape and structure of your feet. If you have a close relative with bunions, you may inherit certain foot types more prone to bunion development. 

 These foot types may include:  

  • A wider forefoot: This can cause the big toe to crowd the other toes, leading to bunion formation. 

  • A loose or unstable joint at the base of the big toe: The metatarsophalangeal joint is the designated term for this joint. A loose or unstable joint can allow the big toe to drift inwards over time. 

  • Flat feet: Flat feet can cause abnormal mechanics in the foot, which can stress the big toe joint and contribute to bunion development. 


Other Causes of Bunions 

While genetics play a significant role, bunions can also be caused by other factors. These include: 

  • Wearing ill-fitting shoes: Tight or narrow shoes have the potential to compress the toes, exerting pressure on the joint of the big toe and contributing to the development of bunions.
  • Certain foot conditions: Arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other foot conditions can weaken the bones and joints in the foot, increasing the risk of bunions.
  • Foot injuries: Injuries to the big toe or the foot can damage the joint and ligaments, leading to bunion development. 

Symptoms of Bunions

A common sign of a bunion is the presence of a bony bump located at the base of the big toe. 

Other symptoms may include:  

  • Pain and tenderness at the bunion. 
  • Redness and swelling around the bunion. 

  • Difficulty bending the big toe. 

  • Difficulty walking or wearing shoes. 

Foot pain treatment with Dr. Ehab Kheir

Several treatment options exist for bunions, varying based on the severity of the condition. 

These include: 

Footwear Modification: 

  • Choose shoes with a roomy toe box, steering clear of high heels and narrow styles. 

  • Look for footwear with sufficient cushioning, excellent arch support, and space for toe movement. 

  • While occasional heel usage is acceptable, minimise frequency, mainly if bunions cause symptoms or discomfort.

  • Emphasise comfortable, supportive, well-fitted shoes for overall foot health and effective bunion management.  


Toe Spacers: Toe spacers, also called toe separators or spreaders, are tiny silicon devices. They are positioned between the big and second toes to ensure correct alignment and spacing. 

Stretch and exercise: Regular foot and toe stretches are essential. They help maintain joint mobility and strengthen supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments. 

Physical therapy: Physical therapy enhances foot strength, flexibility, and joint alignment. It alleviates bunion-related pain and discomfort while promoting overall foot health and managing bunion. 

Surgery: Bunion surgery, or bunionectomy, corrects painful deformities of the big toe joint.  

Various surgical techniques are used based on the severity of the bunion. The choice depends on the patient’s health and specific conditions. 


Other Common surgical procedures include: 

  • Osteotomy (cutting and realigning the bone). 

  • Resection arthroplasty (removing part of the metatarsal head) 
  • Arthrodesis (joint fusion) 

  • Exostectomy (removing the bony bump). 

  • The Lapidus procedure (joint fusion at the base of the big toe) 

Preventing Bunions

Although there’s no foolproof method to ensure the prevention of bunions, you can adopt various measures to minimise your risk. These include:  

  • Wear well-fitting shoes that offer ample support for your feet. 
  • Avoid shoes that are too tight or too narrow. 

  • Maintaining a healthy weight. 

  • Choosing activities that are low-impact on your joints. 

Consult Dr Ehab Kheir for Bunion treatment in Dubai

Specialising in foot and ankle surgery,    Dr. Ehab Kheir  is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon renowned for his expertise.  His focus lies in trauma and orthopaedics related to the foot and ankle, boasting an advanced surgical fellowship from the United Kingdom.  

Dr Ehab Kheir excels particularly in intricate foot and ankle surgeries. If persistent discomfort and painful symptoms from bunions affect you, consulting a foot specialist like Dr Ehab Kheir is crucial.  

Dr Ehab, with his expertise and individualised approach, can assess whether bunion surgery suits you.  

Don’t let bunions hinder you any longer – book a consultation with Dr Ehab Kheir today and embark on healthier, happier, and pain-free feet. 


Book an appointment now.