Although they look like growths, bunions appear when the bone that supports the big toe, the metatarsal, is pushed inwards towards the smaller toes, causing the joint at the base of the toe to stick out.
Bunions run in families and are more likely to be found in women, as women have more flexible joints. However, they can also be worsened by lifestyle factors, such as the shoes you wear or the way you walk.
If you’re worried about pain and inflammation, or simply having to go one size bigger on one of your shoes, read on. Below, we asked Dr. Kenneth Meisler to share the steps you can take to prevent bunions from worsening.
Avoid high heels and tight shoes
The feet of humans living in societies where people walk barefoot look very different from the feet of humans living in societies where people wear shoes.
Shoes, of any kind, constrict the toes. Humans who walk barefoot from a young age tend to have more space between their toes, while humans who wear shoes tend to have toes closer to each other.
Tight shoes can have the same effect on the joints and ligaments of the foot as braces have on teeth: They add pressure, changing the shape and direction of the toes.
High heels can exacerbate this process, as they often apply a lot of pressure on the front of the feet.
The best shoes for bunions are made from flexible materials and are wide around the toe area, putting as little pressure as possible on the toes.
Invest in custom orthotics
Custom orthotics enable you to evenly distribute weight and pressure on your feet. Studies suggest that orthotics, when combined with a toe separator, can improve the angle of misalignments and reduce pain associated with bunions.
Physical therapy and stretches
Under the guidance of Dr. Meisler, you’ll learn how to reduce the stiffness and pressure on your feet by performing various exercises and stretches.
He’ll also ask you about your current exercise habits to see whether they could be contributing to your bunions. For example, long-distance runners are more likely to develop bunions than other people.
Manage your bunions with us
Bunions aren’t just a cosmetic concern. They can also cause inflammation and pain in the big toe.
If you’re experiencing symptoms, or simply want to stall the progression of your bunions, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our staff offers both treatments that eliminate bunion pain and preventive measures such as custom orthotics and physical therapy to ensure your bunions don’t worsen.