Usually associated with supermodels who are often seen in the highest of high heels, bunions are a common problem, and one that’s very, very painful for the individual.
Bunions don’t appear overnight. By the time you notice you have one, it’s usually too late to do anything but manage the situation until surgery rectifies the issue (if applicable).
That said, there are things you can do to prevent their appearance, and to manage the pain of a bunion once one has appeared.
Choose the right shoes
It sounds commons sense, to only wear shoes that fit you perfectly. However, when shoes are only sold in standard sizes, it may be that many people who are a ‘half size’ or who have one foot larger than the other, squeeze themselves into a shoe size that’s not perfectly aligned with the measurements of their feet. It’s a very expensive job getting shoes specially made to your personal dimensions, which is why the vast majority of us choose off the peg footwear.
New shoes may take some ‘breaking in’, but only you will know if, after wearing the shoes for a short while, they’re comfortable and give your feet room to breathe, or whether you’re squeezing your appendages into footwear that’s clearly too small. If the latter is the truth, cut your losses, admit defeat, and get rid of them.
Also ensure that your footwear gives you enough support. When on the beach, it’s both practical and comfortable to wear such as flip-flops, but if you spend six months of every year in these types of shoes, you may be creating posture problems, and bunions may rear their ugly head. This is because flimsy footwear such as flip-flops give no support and place additional pressure on your big toes.
Whilst heels do provide a modicum of support in comparison, if they’re more than one or two inches in height, they will throw your centre of balance; more of your weight will be on the front of your feet and your toes. Regular wearing of high heels is therefore a major cause of bunions.
It’s a good idea to stretch your feet each day. Remove your shoes and wiggle your toes to boost your circulation and so that they get chance to spread out, rather than them being squashed together in a confined space.
If it gets to where a bunion has formed, unfortunately, it’s not something that will retract. Managing any pain is the best thing you can do until you see a specialist about permanent treatment.
If the bunion is particularly painful, it will help to bathe your feet in warm water. This will reduce the inflammation and soothe the pain. If you get the opportunity to rest your feet during the day, take it; it will relieve the pressure.
It may seem counterintuitive if your bunions are playing up and are sore but massaging your feet can help with the pain. Remove your shoes and socks and use your hands, or roll your feet over a tennis ball.
People can be genetically susceptible to bunions and they can run in the family. The shape and structure of an individual’s foot is hereditary, and some may not fit certain shoe designs as a result. A person’s gait can also have an effect, if it puts more pressure on the front of the foot and/or big toe.
Bunions don’t always need surgery. If they’re small and only cause pain/flare up in certain circumstances, operating on them may not be worth it. Surgery often involves cutting the offending section of bone where the bunion sits (typically, on the joint of your big toe) and realigning its position within your foot/feet, along with any corresponding tendons and ligaments. In a worst-case scenario, the bones may need to be fused. Now you can see why prevention is better than the cure!
If you have a bunion and you’d like Treat Your Feet’s advice on its severity and/or pain management techniques, contact us today.