Autumn is a painful time of year for many Pacific Northwest women.

As they transition from open-toed sandals to closed-in boots and shoes, foot and ankle surgeon Kelley Gillroy DPM, FACFAS says she notices more women seeking relief for painful bunions. Dr. Gillroy says this trend plays out in the examining rooms of many foot and ankle surgeons every autumn.

“Some of my female bunion patients are in agony,” says Gillroy. “They describe a constant, throbbing pain, even when they take their shoes off.”

While the changing weather brings more bunion patients into her office, Gillroy says some women inquire about surgery in the fall because they’re less busy than in summer months. Many are also closer to meeting their insurance deductibles.

Dr. Gillroy emphasizes that surgery is a last-resort treatment for women with painful bunions.

“For many women, simple changes like wearing shoes with wider toe boxes can significantly reduce bunion pain,” she says. “Custom shoe inserts, gel- or foam-filled padding and anti-inflammatory medications may also provide pain relief.”

When the pain of a bunion interferes with a woman’s daily activities, it’s time to discuss surgical options, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

The College provides answers to frequently asked questions about bunion surgery on its Web site,

Dr. Gillroy can be contacted at (360) 438-9092.