According to a Framingham Foot Study, 60% of older adults have an irregular foot condition, 23% of those findings suggest that the foot condition is bunions.
What Are Bunions & What Causes Them?
Bunions also known medically as hallux valgus is the condition of when a raised bump forms at the joint of the big toe, causing the big toe to curve towards the other toes. Common bunions look as if the middle bone of the big toe is sticking out. A bunion often forms as the result of poorly fitted shoes that squeeze the toes closer together, with no wiggle room this often affects the growth of the big toe to dislocate and grow in another direction.
Picture of What a Common Bunion Looks Like ( Bunions Are Often Self-Diagnosable)
Can I Prevent Bunions?
Yes! Bunions are highly preventable, but are a very common foot condition that foot specialists continue to see, and according to the Mayo Clinic, there are about 3 million cases reported each year!
The best ways you can prevent bunions from forming are by incorporating the following habits:
Wear Proper Fitting Shoes- The number 1 and best tip you can do to prevent bunions is to always wear roomy shoes that allow all your toes to be able to stretch out normally.
Avoid Pointed Toe Shoes- Wearing angled front toed shoes will encourage toes to naturally push against each other causing your foot and toes to experience stress and limited flexibility.
Avoid Strappy Sandals That Go Between Your Big Toe- Wearing these types of sandals might overwork your entire foot as more grip is required from your feet to hold on to these sandals. Instead opt-in for sandals that cover all your toes. See example below.
Practice Foot Exercises to Strengthen Toe and Feet Muscles- By adding a daily foot exercise you’ll allow your toes to maintain a healthy flexibility and avoid bunions and other common feet conditions such as heel pain, arch pain, and ankle instability.
How Do I Know If I Need Bunion Surgery?
If daily walking has become severely painful and you are noticing constant inflammation and swelling of the big toe, a surgical procedure might be the only option for relief. Scheduling an appointment with your foot specialist as soon as possible will also allow you to see if there are any alternative methods before undergoing surgery. Patients often dealing with bunions can also be prescribed custom orthotics, shoe inserts that will help distribute your weight evenly throughout your feet, bringing relief to your big toe.
A Foot Specialist’s Closing Remarks
If you are experiencing difficulty with bunions please see a foot specialist as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Most doctors will try to suggest non-surgical remedies first. Typically we encourage patients to add padding to their shoes, try custom orthotics, or begin wearing wider shoes. While these approaches may help some patients reduce discomfort, those experiencing severe pain might have to find relief with surgery only.