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How Many Shoes do you Need to Fix Your Bunion?

Have you seen the recent articles about the bunion problems of Camilla Parker Bowles (wife of Prince Charles)? Apparently, the Duchess of Cornwall has 11 pairs of Sole Bliss pumps, shoes which are designed with extra wide toes boxes and additional padding. Clearly, she’s opting to work around her bunions, instead of treating them.

But this approach is problematic, since untreated bunions get worse. And to help you understand why that’s the case, we’ll take a closer look at why bunions form, why they get worse, and how we can help you treat this painful problem.

What are bunions?

Bunions look like bumps on your skin, but they’re actually made of bone

A bunion is a prominent bump on the inside of your foot, which forms around your big toe joint. But the bump isn’t part of your skin, it’s actually caused by a protruding bone. When you have a bunion, the area around your bunion may become swollen and sore, making walking uncomfortable.

You may also notice this type of bump near your little toe, in which case we call it a bunionette. Sometimes, we also call this little-toe protrusion a “tailor’s bunion,” since, years ago, tailors sat cross-legged, pressing the outsides edge of their feet on the ground all day. That kind of pressure frequently left them with bunions, since undue pressure on your feet can lead to the unusual bone growth that leads to bunion development. Now let’s take a look at other reasons you may develop bunions.

Why do bunions develop?

Pointy-toed shoes can increase your bunion risk over time

In terms of your biology, you develop a bunion develops when your foot’s first metatarsal bone turns outward, and your big toe turns in towards your other toes. These internal changes are what cause you to develop a visible foot bump. But what changes make your bone and toe growth change direction? A few different factors play a role.

First of all, genetics are involved. Bunions tend to run in families, because you inherit your foot type, and flat feet, low arches and loose joints and tendons make you more vulnerable to bunion growth.

Additionally, the shape of your metatarsal bone could be the problem: if it’s too round at the top, you lose stability in the area, meaning your bone is more likely to get turned around when it comes under pressure.

Now, let’s talk about that pressure: plenty of forces can contribute to bunion growth. If you keep wearing shoes that pinch your toes, the built-up pressure can push your big toe inwards. And, overtime, those changes can become permanent, allowing bunions to develop.

But that’s not all: if you spend lots of time on your feet, your bunion risk increases because of the constant pressure on your metatarsal bone. This is true for everyone from teachers to doctors and nurses and, of course, professional dancers (especially ballerinas who go en pointe.) Pregnant women also have a higher bunion risk, since your joints loosen up during pregnancy, making it easier for your bone or toe to change course and cause problems.

Why should I treat my bunions?

Get the facts on your bunion treatment options

Many bunions cause pain and inflammation. If you have a bunion, you may also find it difficult to fit into standard shoes, to exercise or participate in sports, or even to walk without pain. For some people, however, bunions aren’t a major source of pain—especially when they first begin to form. But treating bunions is still very important. Here are 3 reasons you should treat your bunions:

  1. Having a bunion makes you more vulnerable to arthritis, as well as cartilage damage within your toe joint.
  2. A big toe bunion can lead to further toe damage, increasing your risk for corns, calluses, hammertoes and ingrown toenails.
  3. Untreated bunions won’t stay put. Overtime, they will get larger and more painful, and will require more serious interventions when you finally seek relief.

How Can I Treat my Bunion?

Surgery is the only way to get rid of your bunions. We know this sounds scary, but rest assured, our “bunionectomy” procedure safely and gently realigns your bone, ligaments, tendons, and nerves, so we can restore your toe to its proper position. Dr. Bachmann, Dr. Stern, Dr. Walsh and Dr. Fiala using cutting edge techniques to perform your surgery, which ensures that you get the best possible results. 

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what Margaret Mills, one of our surgical patients, said about her experience at Louetta Foot and Ankle: “This was my second surgery by Dr. Bachmann…and so far the results have been painless. He takes time to explain the procedure and really cares about his patients. Highly recommend him.”

What happens after your surgery, you may be wondering? We stick with you through the entire recovery process! All of the bunion-surgery patients at our practice benefit from working with our certified athletic trainer for physical therapy to help you get back on your feet. We also provide laser therapy for our bunion-surgery patients, to reduce any post-surgery pain or inflammation. In fact, our laser therapy is so effective that we’ve been named a national Center of Excellence, training other practices in this country on how to speed up your surgical recovery time with this form of laser therapy!

Ready to find relief? We’re here to help! We’re also offering free and safe pedicures to patients who book their bunion surgery after an in-office bunion consultation. Reach out to us today for more information.

Sources: Harvard Health