No, you don't have to have surgery. Surgery is the only way to remove a bunion, but we only recommend surgery if you are experiencing pain or you have decided you want to remove the bunion for cosmetics reasons. Without surgery, we can accomodate the bunion with shoes, pads, and other tools.
There are different treatment options available. Depending on what you're trying to accomplish, will determine the type of treatment plan. If you want to walk without pain or you want to wear shoes closed toe shoes, you may decide surgery is the best treatment. If you want to accommodate the bunion and live with, you may decide wearing different shoes if your best option.