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Causes of Bunions and How to Ease Them

We don’t think much about our toes, but the truth is, we’ve got a lot riding on them. Toes help us maintain our balance, as well as bearing much of our weight. When our toes get bent out of shape, bunions can make it difficult for us to keep up with our daily lives. The causes of bunions can vary, but no matter where they come from, they can leave us with reduced movement and chronic pain. Bunion treatment can include bunion pads, bunionette pads, insoles, orthotics, foot braces, and toe spacers.

Why Do Bunions Form?

The medical term for bunions is hallux valgus. This describes the bony hump or prominence that can form at the base of the big toe joint. There are mild, moderate and severe cases of bunions. In moderate and severe cases, not only is there a bony prominence, but there is also an angular deformity where the first metatarsal shifts and increases the normal angle between the 1st and 2nd metatarsals. Bunions can form on the outside of the foot at the base of the little toe joint. These are called bunionettes, taylor’s bunions or mini bunions.

Bunions are considered a progressive deformity. They occur because of a gradual malalignment of the joint at the base of the big toe joint. Frequently, the big toe veers toward the rest of the toes of the foot. As this diversion occurs, the base of the big toe pushes on the first metatarsal bone to form the bunion.

Genetics can play a role in the formation of bunions, as can arthritis and injury or trauma. Those with poor or weak foot structure, and those who over pronate or have flat feet may develop bunions. Limb length discrepancies where one leg is longer than the other is also a common cause.  Wearing tight, ill-fitted shoes, such as high-heeled or pointed shoes can encourage bunions to develop. More women develop bunions than men.

Convenient Bunion Treatment Options

In most cases, bunion treatment does not require professional medical intervention. Choose shoes with a deep, wide toe box to allow your foot to retain its proper position. Avoid shoes with high heels, which will force your toes to bear too much weight. If the bunion becomes painful or inflamed, use an ice pack two or three times a day for 15 minutes at a time to help reduce the swelling.

Adopt a Long-Term Approach

Orthotic shoe inserts may help your foot remain properly aligned and can work to limit the pronation by supporting the arch. This can help to slow down the progression of bunions.  Bunion pads or bunionette pads can help alleviate the pressure shoes place on the joint. You can also utilize toe spacers made to prevent your toes from crowding together. Consider a brace designed to realign your tendons and muscles while you sleep as a long-term approach to bunion treatment.  In severe cases where conservative approach has failed, surgery may be an option.  Surgery should only be considered if the bunion has chronic pain, shoes don’t fit and your activity levels have decreased due to pain.

Defeat Bunions the Easy Way

Quality products make it simple to return your feet to good health. Look for podiatrist recommended braces, comfortable gel toe spacers, bunionette pads, and other orthotics with the American Podiatric Medical Association’s seal of approval!


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