Maybe in your ‘20s or ‘30s you can tolerate your bunions and work around them. But as you age, repetitive motion and repetitive stress on the big toe joint will eventually prevail and a bunion will probably form. Cartilage in the joints may break down, leading to arthritis, stiffness and a non-functioning joint.
Ultimately, bunions become a quality of life issue. Bunion pain can be debilitating, preventing you from certain weight-bearing exercises like running, hiking, yoga or even walking.
Many people feel it more on hard surfaces, like cement sidewalks. Certainly your shoe options will be limited. The embarrassment over feet that may look somewhat deformed doesn’t really go away, and can start to dominate your thoughts and affect your self-esteem. Like anything else that takes up too much of your energy and mental attention, there comes a point when you just have to take action. Some people wait till this point to have surgery, others anticipate it by dealing with the problem early on.