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My Child Has Juvenile Bunions: What Can I Do?

My Child Has Juvenile Bunions: What Can I Do?

When your child has any type of medical condition, it’s scary. Bunions aren’t a life-threatening problem but cause your child pain and discomfort. It’s important to seek care if they have issues with their feet.

Our Beltsville Foot and Ankle Center team offers compassionate care to your child when they have a bunion. Dr. David Deiboldt is our expert podiatrist who evaluates your child’s bunion and provides fast and effective treatments.

What are juvenile bunions?

Juvenile bunions are simply bunions that form on a child’s or teen’s feet. This condition usually develops on adult feet but can also happen in early childhood.

Bunions are also called hallux valgus, which means deformity of the big toe. It happens from an abnormal walking gait or dysfunction of the bones in your feet. Other common causes of juvenile bunions include:

If your child’s feet point inward when they walk, they’re also at risk for a bunion forming.

Other factors that increase your child’s chances of bunions include obesity, ill-fitting shoes, and playing certain types of sports.

Signs to look out for

Bunions don’t always cause pain in children and teens; sometimes the first symptom is the bump on the side of your child’s foot. Because of this, you should seek treatment as soon as you notice the problem.

Other signs that signal your child has a juvenile bunion include:

Finding shoes that are wide enough to accommodate your child’s bunion may be difficult. As the bump grows, your child needs wider shoes.

Your child might complain of pain in other areas of their feet or toes with a bunion, but it’s not common. If you’re unsure about the bump on their foot, it’s beneficial to have Dr. Deiboldt look at their feet.

Treatment for juvenile bunions

Several treatments are available if Dr. Deiboldt determines your child has a bunion. The first treatments often involve changes you can implement at home.

Dr. Deiboldt recommends home therapies before surgery, especially for children and teens. The treatments he offers for juvenile bunions include:

Well-fitted shoes

Your child’s shoes should have plenty of room in the toe box. Avoid buying shoes that are narrow or flat without any support. 

Toe separators

Toe separators are found at most pharmacies and help keep the bunion deformity flexible. It doesn’t allow the tissues around the bunion to adapt to the deviated big toe.


If your child complains of pain, you can apply ice to the area for 10 minutes at a time once an hour. Be sure not to put the ice directly on their skin; wrap it in a towel instead.

Night splints

Night splints don’t correct your child’s bunion or prevent it from worsening. Your child wears them for comfort and to keep the tissues around the bunion from stretching and causing discomfort.

Physical therapy

If home treatments don’t work, Dr. Deiboldt recommends physical therapy. Your child benefits from physical therapy with the specific exercises designed to alleviate discomfort from the bunion.

Custom orthotics

Orthotics are customized to your child’s foot, helping keep the bunion from worsening. Orthotics help to distribute your child’s weight, keep their foot aligned, and allow for proper foot mechanics.

Your child may need surgery if the bunion deformity is severe and other treatments haven’t helped. Surgery is a last resort, as surgery is invasive and not ideal for children.

If your child is complaining of foot pain, don’t hesitate to call our Beltsville, Maryland office at 301-804-1174 or book a consultation online today.

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