Long-Term Effects of Bunions if Left Untreated

Bunions often start as minor irritations on the foot but, if left untreated, can become painful irritations that interfere with daily living. They can also develop into serious medical complications if they are ignored for too long. Bunions are bony bumps that form on the outside joint of your big toe when the bone moves out of alignment. Sometimes the area becomes sore and red, although this isn’t always the case until the condition becomes severe. Wearing tight shoes or high heels can make bunions worse.  Sometimes bunion surgery in Queens is the best way to prevent serious complications later.

Early Symptoms of Bunions

Symptoms of bunions you shouldn’t ignore include:

  • Redness, swelling, or pain around the big toe joint
  • A protrusion of the joint at the outside of the base of your big toe
  • Intermittent pain in your big toe joint
  • Calluses between your big toe and second toe
  • Difficulty moving your big toe

Any of these symptoms are signs of a bunion. Seeing a bunion surgeon in Queens should be your first step. He can evaluate your foot and determine whether you need orthotics or surgery to correct the problem to avoid potentially serious complications.

Potential Long-Term Effects of Bunions Left Untreated

Many long-term complications can develop if you don’t treat bunions in the early stages. Most of them can lead to severe pain and eventually interfere with an individual’s ability to walk comfortably and can even cause permanent physical deformities to the foot and toes. Bunion surgery in Queens can eliminate these long-term complications by preventing them before they become problems.

Diminished Movement

Dr. E, a bunion doctor in Queens will explain to you that the pain and inflammation of a bunion is just the beginning. You will also develop restricted movement of your big toe if a bunion is left untreated for too long. Over time, it will become increasingly difficult to bend your toe, and it will stiffen up, making it harder to maintain your balance. You may find it harder to walk on uneven ground, jog, or run. Standing for extended periods will become uncomfortable.


Bunions can cause callouses and blisters when they rub against shoes. These can lead to lead to infections that are difficult to treat due to repeated irritation.


As a bunion becomes more advanced, the bursa, fluid-filled sacs cushioning the joints, become inflamed and painful. This can become a chronic condition, leading to debilitating pain and inflammation. Left untreated, the bursa can rupture or become infected.


Hammertoe is an abnormality of the middle toe joint of the second toe, causing pressure and pain that can be severe. It is caused by pressure from the inward bend of the big toe toward the second toe. Hammertoe can bend the toe into a hammer shape that is not only painful but also makes it difficult to wear many styles of shoes due to how the toe is curved.


This inflammation of the bones in the ball of the foot causes pain, bruising, and difficulty walking. Each step can be uncomfortable when weight is placed on the area at the base of the toes, or the metatarsal area. Tingling, numbness, and the sensation of a stone or other irritation in the shoe are common.  When left untreated, bunions can lead to individuals compensating by overcompensating when they walk, putting inappropriate pressure on their metatarsal bones, and forcing them out of alignment, leading to metatarsalgia.

Foot Deformities

If bunions are left untreated for too long, they can continue to grow in size, twisting the other toes out of alignment and giving the side of the foot a swollen or bent appearance. The toe joint might develop callouses where the bunion rubs against shoes. Over time, it can become increasingly difficult to find shoes that fit correctly and are comfortable enough to be tolerable. Wearing sandals and other footwear that show the toes may no longer be an option.

It is best to be proactive by consulting with a bunion surgeon in Queens before your condition progresses to the point where you’ve developed hammertoe or other conditions that impact your other toe joints’ overall health. This can alleviate the need for more complex surgery or treatments and help you avoid infections and other complications.

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