Bunions are a very common problem for older people, but they also affect a general part of the younger population. A study determined that over 23% of people aged 18 to 65, as well as 36% of people older than 65, had bunions. It’s more common than you think, and it can bring serious consequences to your body and be a painful experience throughout your life.
There are many reasons you may get bunions and many solutions for your pain if you already have them. Here’s everything you need to know about bunions.
9. What Are Bunions?
Bunions are a common foot disorder or malformation that occurs at the base of the big toe. Bunions occur in your foot joints and create a lump on the side that forms over a long period of time. Bunions can grow big enough to angle your big toe inwards, causing it to be on top of the other toe and creating other issues on your foot.
Bunions can be painful, and, depending on their size, they can affect your everyday life and even make it difficult—and painful—to do physical activities or wear shoes or any type of footwear.
8. What Causes Bunions?
Many things can help to cause bunions over your life. First, your footwear. If you’re wearing shoes that are too tight constantly, that might help create bunions. You should avoid using tight shoes, high heels, and pointy, narrow shoes to avoid forming bunions or to alleviate the pain from them if you already have them.
Dr. Houman Danesh, director of integrative pain management at Mount Sinai Hospital, says a muscle imbalance might cause you to walk in a way that forms bunions.
“If [a muscle] is too weak or too tight and that pulls your leg out of alignment, your natural gait can become slightly off,” says Danesh. “The next thing you know, you keep doing it and pushing off [the inside of your foot], where the bunion is forming, rather than the tip of the toe.”
Sadly, genetics is also a big reason for bunions. Even if you don’t wear any tight footwear, it’s possible that you get bunions because of your family. If your parents or grandparents have bunions, it’s highly likely that you will too.
Having other foot conditions increase the risk of getting bunions too. If you have a short Achilles tendon, short calf muscles, or joint diseases, you’re more to get bunions.
7. Bunions Can Lead to Other Problems
If you don’t treat your bunions as soon as possible, you might suffer from harsher consequences. In addition to pain and feeling uncomfortable wearing regular footwear, bunions can cause other issues and foot deformities.
As we mentioned before, bunions can cause your big toe to move inwards and be on top of your other toes, making it impossible to use regular shoes. Additionally, since both toes are rubbing against each other, you might get calluses in between. You may also get calluses at the bottom of the foot.
You may also develop osteoarthritis, which is a common form of arthritis that makes it painful and difficult to move your joints on your knees.
On top of that, since you’re walking differently because of bunions, you might also affect other joints and parts of your body, like your back and neck. Not walking correctly can affect your posture and bring a lot of pain to your whole body.
6. Relieve Bunion Pain
Fortunately, there are some things you can do by yourself to alleviate your bunion pain. But if you’re already experiencing too much pain or you want to get diagnosed, then you should consider going to your doctor or health provider. That being said, here are some ways to relieve bunion pain.
5. Take the Correct Medications
Needless to say, your doctor will give you the necessary prescription to alleviate bunion pain effectively. But you can always try taking some medication like ibuprofen that helps alleviate the pain and reduce inflammation.
Keep in mind, though, that using these types of medication for longer periods of time can cause side effects on your body. Take them with the necessary precautions and consider talking to your health provider beforehand.
4. Try Physical Therapy
Certain exercises can help you strengthen the muscles on your feet to pull your toes back into place, relieving the pain of bunions and helping your body as a whole if you’ve been walking with bunions for a long time.
Physical therapy is something you can’t do for yourself, so we recommend that you contact a physical therapist of your choice so they can determine a proper therapy plan for you based on your current situation.
3. Use Supportive Shoes
Using a good pair of shoes can go a long way to reduce your bunion pain. Try finding comfortable sneakers with soft materials that provide arch support and enough cushion to absorb the shocks when walking. Try to get a size you’re comfortable with, which doesn’t leave your toes too tight or too close to each other. Remember to take both width and length into consideration.
2. Use Toe Spacers
Even though they’re most commonly used for other types of foot pain, and it’s still to be determined if they actually work, toe spacers can help bring your big toe back into its regular position and can help with your bunion pain. There are different types of toe spacers that you can wear during the day or just at night.
1. Consider Surgery
If everything else fails, you can always consider surgery to remove your bunions. Talk to your doctor to determine if this is the best solution for you. Surgery is often considered when the bunions are too big, or your pain is persistent.
Bunion surgery tries to remove a piece of your bone in order to move the toe back into its place. The surgeon may also need to move or shorten other ligaments, tendons, or nerves.
As this is a more intrusive option, surgery should be considered a last resort. You can always try the other methods and talk to your health providers to find the best solution for your situation.