How Bunions Are Diagnosed

Bunions are not very difficult to diagnose and can often be treated at home. However, other conditions—like hammertoe, bursitis, and infection-related inflammation—can induce similar symptoms yet demand drastically different solutions. 

Before purchasing medication or making a treatment plan, schedule an appointment with Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle. Our podiatrists can diagnose a bunion by taking either of the following approaches. 

A Physical Examination

During a physical examination, your podiatrist will ask questions about your child’s medical history, general health, and specific symptoms. In most cases, a visual inspection is enough to confirm a bunion diagnosis. 

However, a Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle podiatrist might also measure and assess your child’s foot alignment and weight-bearing alignment. This can help identify additional irregularities and establish a more effective course of action. 

Medical Imaging Tests

If a bunion appears unusually severe or seems resistant to treatment, we might order an X-ray to see the extent of any possible misalignment or damage to the big toe joint. 

Treating a Childhood Bunion 

Children do not grow out of bunions. Fortunately, most treatment options are noninvasive, pain-free, and cost-effective.

Treatment options could include any of the following.

New Shoes 

Doctors have yet to determine whether tight footwear can cause bunions. However, ill-fitting shoes can—at the very least—aggravate bunion-related symptoms, making sports and chores much more painful than they would otherwise be. 

Cold Compresses 

A cold compress can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. 


Orthotics are custom-made footwear that can be used to correct childhood gait irregularities, redistribute weight, and realign the feet. 

Medical Devices

Your podiatrist might recommend the use of other medical devices, including splints and toe separators. Both devices help realign the big toe and are easily removable, letting your child retain their physical independence throughout treatment. 


Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle’s team of board-certified foot and ankle surgeons may recommend surgery if bunion symptoms or severe or other treatment options have failed. Surgery is typically a last resort but can be very effective in curtailing bunions and preventing their recurrence.

Dr. P. Roman Burk
Providing experienced private practice podiatry services in the Caldwell and Meridian, ID area since 2007.