Bunions are a fairly common foot problem. In fact, about one in three Americans suffers from bunions. Compared to other foot issues like Achilles tendonitis or heel pain from plantar fasciitis, you may think that bunions are a minor condition that isn’t something you should be concerned about. Nothing could be further from the truth though.
Bunions are a progressive condition that’s characterized by a bony bump most commonly located on the inside of the big toe. The Latin name pretty much tells the whole story – “hallux valgus,” meaning big toe and turned away.
Like the name suggests, bunions actually create a foot deformity. Initially, the process begins as a result of something like inadequate room in the toe box of a shoe, which can cause the big toe to lean toward the second toe.
Over time, the bones in the front part of the foot misalign and the bunion bump forms at the largest joint of the big toe called the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. The MTP joint takes on the pressure of your full weight throughout the day regardless of whether you’re standing or walking around. So if left untreated, bunions are not only painful but also can limit your mobility.
Anyone can develop a bunion, however, the condition tends to run in families and is more common in people with flat feet or low arches.
In the following, Dr. Jarna Rathod-Bhatt and Dr. Rahul Bhatt, our skilled podiatrists at Apple Podiatry Group, explain how you can prevent bunion pain.
Just say no to narrow, pointy footwear
Since genetics and the shape of your foot are risk factors in whether you develop painful bunions, preventive measures are geared toward not creating a perfect storm of conditions. Bunions progress slowly so that there are plenty of things you can do to stave off the condition, even if bunions run in your family.
One of the best preventive measures is to choose footwear that provides good arch support and is roomy in the front part of the shoe, called the toe box. Trendy high-heeled shoes may be gorgeous, but they do nothing to provide adequate support and TLC for your feet.This may be why bunions are 10 times more common in women.
Seek early intervention
In the initial stages, bunions may seem more like a nuisance than a reason to see the doctor, but that’s not so. Early intervention is key, since bunions will not go away on their own. If left untreated bunions will continue to worsen and become more painful, and possibly debilitating.
If you’re getting a lot of calluses or corns or are experiencing foot stiffness, inflammation, or pain, make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists for a thorough evaluation. Preventing further development of bunions and mitigating any permanent damage may be just the thing to keep you active and more comfortable for many years to come.
Use orthotics and padding
Another great tool to mitigate bunions are custom orthotics. Here at Apple Podiatry Group, we prescribe orthotics to treat a variety of conditions, including bunions. Since each custom orthotic is fabricated individually, it’s perfectly dialed in for your weight, how you move, and your foot shape.
Orthotics can restore any balance and alignment issues, which takes excessive pressure off the MTP joint, thereby relieving pain and discomfort. You may also want to discuss using padding like moleskin to further cushion bunions on the joint.
If you have foot pain and think you’re developing a bunion, contact us for an evaluation. Book an appointment while you’re online now. Or, you can give one of our Apple Podiatry Group offices in Arlington or Irving, Texas, a call.