According to WebMD, the only way to remove bunions is surgery. Other treatments such as night splints and special insoles may halt the worsening of the bunion or help to alleviate pain, but they do not actually remove them. Over 100 surgeries to remove bunions exist, with the most popular being osteotomy, but doctors may recommend other types depending on the severity.
Most bunion-removal surgeries aim to re-align the two bones in the joint of the big toe, explains WebMD. During osteotomy, surgeons cut the bones and put them back in line with each other. For older patients with especially bad bunions and arthritis, doctors might suggest Keller's arthroplasty, a procedure in which parts of the bones are removed to reshape the foot entirely.
WebMD cautions that surgery is not without its risks and complications. Although pain may be partially or completely eliminated, the toe can still appear slightly deformed. Recovery can take up to a year. Surgery does not prevent bunions from returning.
Surgery is generally not advised for children whose bones are still growing and developing and may form bunions again at a later age. In these cases, WebMD notes that doctors may prescribe orthoses, which are specially made insoles thought to provide more support and prevent bunions from worsening.