How to deal with bunions on the feet?

Health & FitnessMedicine

  • Author Craig Payne
  • Published July 3, 2022
  • Word count 520

Bunions are a common and unsightly problem that affects the feet, mostly in females. Bunions are an enlargement of the big toe joint. They appear as a bump on the side of the foot and are usually associated with a condition called hallux valgus which is a deviation of the big toe over towards the other toes. They can be painful as the shoes will push on that enlarged bone causing pain from the pressure. They can also be painful due to an arthritis like pain inside the joint. Bunion also affect the way that you walk, and this can cause symptoms elsewhere in the lower limb. Several studies have shown that those with bunions have a lower quality of life. A common concern is finding shoes that can fit the wider forefoot. Typically, the wider shoes that are needed do not look very fashionable creating a dilemma for the person with bunions. They are more common in females which probably means there may be a hormonal explanation, or it may mean that the explanation is the choice of footwear.

Bunions are caused by a combination of risk factors that work together to cause the problem. There is definitely a genetic risk factor as they do run in families. However, that is not enough on its own to cause the problem. Probably the main factor is the wearing of shoes that push the big toe over towards the lessor toes and shoes with a higher heel, which are typically worn by females. However, wearing bad shoes on their own is also not enough, but if there are genetic risk factors present then it is probably going to happen. It is known that bunions do occasionally occur in people who do not ever wear shoes, but they are uncommon. Being overweight and being active on your feet a lot are also possible factors that increase the chance that you will get bunions. Once a bunion starts, it does seem to progress.

The main treatment option for bunions is to get footwear that does not push the big toe over any further or push on the enlarged bunion to be painful. This can be a challenge especially for the fashion conscious. Exercises to keep the big toe joint moving is important as they can help with some of the pain coming from inside the joint. A more mobile and flexible joint is a healthier joint. There are splints that can be worn at night to try and correct the angle of the toe and the research evidence is that they can help a little bit after several months of use. There are various pads that can be used to protect the bunion from shoe pressure. While these approaches generally help well with making the bunion comfortable and helps improve the symptoms, the only way to get rid of bunions is with surgery. There is no other way. The surgery for bunions is somewhat complex as there are so many different structures involved in the problem and the surgeon will have to decide which is the best of several ways for each person.

Bunions are a common problem and there are various products that can help:

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