Bunions are a frustrating nuisance for many women who want to don fashionable open toed sandals but feel the red, hard bump at the base of their big toe joint should be hidden from view. Although bunions’ unsightly appearance is often women’s main concern, bunions can be far more than a beauty issue as bunions grow and worsen over time, often causing pain and impacting mobility.
If you have a bunion, it’s best to leave your high heels and tight fitting footwear in your closet and cosmetics are not the reason. Narrow shoes, particularly high heels, can make bunions worse. In fact, they are one of the causes of bunions and one of the reasons bunions develop far more frequently in women. Bunions can also be caused by arthritis, structural foot problems (people who have flat feet or feet that roll inward are more prone to bunions), foot trauma and ill-fitting shoes. Genetics can also make you more susceptible to developing bunions as well.
Although bunions usually get progressively worse, some bunions grow faster than others. If your bunion is causing you pain, making it difficult for you to find shoes that fit properly or restricting the movement of your big toe or foot you should book a consultation with a foot care professional such as a Canadian Certified Pedorthist.
Your Canadian Certified Pedorthist will conduct a full assessment of your feet and lower limbs and advise you about a variety of non-surgical treatment options to provide relief from your bunion, including:
- Applying ice to reduce the swelling
- Always wearing properly-fitted, supportive shoes that have a wide toe box
- Stiff rocker sole shoe to limit movement through the big toe joint
- Shoe modifications such as spot stretching the relieve pressure and rubbing
- Using over the counter or custom foot orthotics to re-distribute pressure
- Modifying your activities to reduce the pressure on your bunion
It’s important to seek treatment if your bunion is causing you discomfort as untreated bunions can result in painful complications such as hammertoes, blistering that can lead to infection, and potentially decreased mobility.
By Laura Allen, C. Ped (C), Fergus, ON