Does this scenario sound familiar? Over time, you've acquired a large, firm lump just below your big toe on one or both of your feet. This lump may not be painful, but if it is, a day of wearing shoes can be excruciating. If so, you likely have a bunion. This common foot ailment is seen regularly by our staff of podiatrists at Foot Health Center LLC in West Orange, New Jersey. Below, the causes of bunions are discussed, as well as how to prevent them.
It's surprising to many people that bunions aren't actually a new growth; instead, they are a gradual displacement of the joint just behind the big toe on the inside of the foot. Bunions seem to have a genetic aspect; that is, if your grandmother or mother had bunions, your feet are at more of a risk of developing them as well. Wearing narrow, pointed shoes also seems to crowd the toes and cause strain on the foot, which can lead to the outgrowth of bone. That's why your West Orange podiatrist sees more women - who frequently wear shoes that have small, uncomfortable toe boxes - with bunions, than men. Other conditions like arthritis may worsen bunions.
As mentioned above, some people may be genetically or medically prone to developing bunions, but there are things you can do to decrease your chance of developing them or making them worse. Regardless of the progression of your bunions, wearing comfortable, roomy shoes in the proper size can make a big difference for you. An evaluation from your West Orange podiatrist can determine if you're wearing the correct size and width for your foot anatomy. Special padded splints can also help to cushion the big toe and hold it in a more natural position. Persistently bothersome bunions may need to be corrected with surgery.
If you think you're dealing with a bunion, or for any other foot and ankle related problem, contact Foot Health Center in West Orange, New Jersey to make an appointment with one of our skilled podiatrists. We can be reached at 973-731-1266.