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Considerations for Those with Bunions

If you have bunions (Hallux Valgus near the big toe or Tailor’s Bunion near your little toe), you know they can be difficult to deal with. How do I relieve the pain? What shoes should I buy? Do I need orthotics? First let’s dive into bunions themselves; then I’ll go into some things to keep in mind if you have them.

What are bunions?

Bunions are bony bumps that form at the base of the big toe. They occur when your 1st metatarsal angles outwards, thus forcing your big toe to angle inwards. In this unnatural position, the joint can become swollen and inflamed. Bunions can also form beneath the little toe. Left untreated, bunions tend to worsen with time and can make walking and activity very painful and sometimes, may require surgery to correct. 

What causes bunions?

In many cases, bunions are caused by poor fitting shoes. Shoes that are too narrow for your feet in the toe box increases your chances of developing them. High heels are a major cause of bunions due to not only the narrow toe box but due to the majority of the pressure on the foot solely on the ball of the foot. Another cause of bunions is genetics. If you want to know how your feet are going to turn out, you can likely look to your parents and grandparents to get a good idea!

What to consider if you have bunions:

  1. Shoe Shopping – Always compare the shape of your foot vs. the shape of the shoe! If the shoe is smaller or narrower than your foot, you’re going to have problems.
  2. Wide width shoes with a wide toe box is optimal for not only wide width feet but feet with bunions!
  3. Shoes made with softer materials, such as leather, can help by allowing the shoe to “flex” some around the widest part of the foot. I also have the ability to perform minor shoe modifications in order to accommodate a bunion.
  4. Orthotics, or custom orthotics provided by Solelytics, can assist with bunions in providing arch support not only in your medial arch but in your transverse arch through a metatarsal pad or bar.
  5. Things like bunion pads and compression socks can help to alleviate the pain. There’s also bunion specific socks and sleeves that can help and we offer those in our Online Shop.

Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for bunions. Once they’re at a point in which normal ambulation isn’t possible or the pain is too great, surgery is looking more likely. Because bunion surgery isn’t guaranteed to work and the long and painful recovery… This should be a last resort. Let’s get your feet right now! Taking care of your feet through proper shoe selection, proper arch support and good mechanics is a way to prevent bunions from worsening. Contact us today and we can talk you through bunions and many other foot conditions.