I first came across bunions when a relative complained of a painful blister at her big toe joint. She was working the corporate world and her dress code included stylish high heeled shoes. At first, I thought the condition was normal since blisters can result from tight fitting shoes. However, the condition got worse that she had to seek medical attention. Luckily, she got the right advice in time and can now walk comfortably.
A bunion is a bone deformity that affects the joint between the big toe and the first metatarsal. Its main sign is the big toe pointing towards the other toe resulting in a bump at the joint between the two bones. Persons with this deformity experience swelling and even pain at the affected area. Blisters may also form at the joint.
Medical practitioners agree that bunions are caused when pressure is continuously applied on the big toe and first metatarsal. This causes the attaching ligaments to overstretch forcing the joint outwards and the tip of the big toe inwards. The main cause is wearing tight fitting shoes. Researchers also attribute bunions to genetics. Inherited conditions such as flat feet and abnormal bone structure have been believed to cause this condition. Although no supporting evidence exists to support these claims, people with these conditions and wearing ill fitting shoes are at higher risk. Diseases affecting the nerves and joints can also put people at a higher risk.
Who is affected?
Anyone can be affected by bunions. However, studies show that women contribute the majority of persons suffering from the condition. Children are also at risk of developing the condition.
Can bunions be prevented?
Since the main cause is wearing ill fitting shoes, bunions can be prevented. However, if the condition is already underway, the best you can do is apply preventive measures which will prevent it from becoming severe. The best way therefore is by making an informed choice when buying shoes.
The best shoes for bunions prevention
The following are the characteristics of shoes that lower risk of developing bunions.
First, the shoes should be wide enough at the front. When trying out a new shoe, ensure that it isn’t tight at the front and doesn’t force your toes together. The shoe should also have enough space allowing the toes to move freely. Avoid buying new shoes during morning hours. The reason for this is that the foot isn’t at its maximum size. The foot actually enlarges during the day and a shoe that was well fitting during morning hours might feel tight by evening.
Second, wear shoes with a flat sole. High heeled shoes have been found to contribute to development of bunions. The reason for this is that the heel forces the body’s weight onto the toe area. As such, the toes are forced into the tight space at the front of the shoe.
Third, use custom orthotics in your shoes. The reason why “custom” is emphasized here is that both feet aren’t exactly the same structurally. The orthotics will help maintain balance within the foot relieving the toes off too much pressure.