What’s the deal with Bunions?

When most of us think about bunions we tend to think of that relative that had them from wearing high heeled shoes when they were younger. But did you know that footwear is only one factor that plays a role in the development?

Why Me?

Bunions are one of the most common foot deformities seen and have many different contributing factors. Let’s take a closer look.

Bunions are deformities of the great toe. Many of us know the deformity by its classic tell tale sign of a bump on the side of the toe. A family history of bunion deformity is the leading predetermining factor to its development. This includes a history of poor biomechanics in the feet often seen with flat feet. More specifically, instability of the great toe joint being the main contributing factor. 

bunion hallux valgus

Do you over pronate? Pronation of the foot tends to increase pressure on the great toe joint, further contributing to its instability. This instability in the great toe joint causes the toe to slowly deviate into the second toe. This deformity is classified in 4 stages with each stage increasing in severity. This can look anywhere from a slight deviation of the joint in the first stage to complete dislocation of the joint in the 4th stage and possible crossover deformity.  Wearing ill-fitting footwear will only encourage the deformity to become worse. For example, wearing shoes that are too narrow. 

Bunions generally are painless unless in improper footwear or if it progresses into an arthritic condition. This is why it is important to wear properly fitted footwear or seek prophylactic measures to  slow its progression. 

What Can I Do About It?

Foot orthotics are a common treatment option to do just that. It helps re-align the feet so pressure is distributed more equally across the foot as oppose to being concentrated at the 1st. Taping or using bunion aligners and toe spacers tend to be another source of relief for many. However, if the Bunion deformity becomes very severe and impacts your ability to walk, more serious measures such as surgery may be the only option. 

Click here to learn about some of our other favourite devices for bunion pain management.


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