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Plymouth Podiatry - Located in Plymouth, MA 02360, Phone: (508) 747-1973 and Taunton, MA 02780, Phone: (508) 824-9571

Bunions: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Good day, friends and readers! If you’ve ever felt like you’ve run a marathon in your shoes at the end of the day, it might be time to learn more about a common foot condition – bunions. Famous for creating foot discomfort, these little hard bumps make every day longer and harder to get through. If this is you, take comfort in knowing you aren’t alone, and please continue reading.

What Are Bunions?

And while the topic of bunions might be a put-off, it’s a foot ailment that many folks deal with daily. Understanding bunions is the first step to getting back on your feet, pain-free, and ready to tackle your daily activities with vim and vigor.

What Causes Bunions?

Many factors might lead to bunions, and it’s about more than just wearing ill-fitted shoes, although that can certainly contribute. Other factors include genetic predispositions, arthritis, foot stress or injuries, and even certain neuromuscular conditions. Let’s delve a bit deeper into these factors.

It’s In the Genes – The tendency to develop bunions can often run in the family. It’s not the bunions themselves that are hereditary, but certain foot types that make you more prone to developing them. If your parents or grandparents have bunions, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll get them, but it might increase your chances. The shape of your foot and the way it moves when you walk could make you more susceptible to bunions.

Arthritis And Bunions – Arthritis, a condition characterized by the inflammation of one or more joints, can contribute to bunions. Individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis are particularly at risk. This type of arthritis can cause a change in the overall shape of the foot and lead to instability in the joints. This instability can contribute to bunions. It works like a chain reaction, so understanding the connection can help us address the issue more effectively.

Foot Stress and Injuries – We don’t realize the daily stress we put on our feet. From morning jogs to evening strolls, waiting in lines, climbing stairs, or even running errands, our feet are subjected to constant stress. This everyday foot stress can result in various foot conditions, including bunions. Previous injuries can play a role as well. If you’ve ever had a sprained foot or broken toe, this can change how you walk and lead to the formation of a bunion.

Neuromuscular Conditions – Certain neuromuscular conditions can make someone more prone to bunions. Conditions like polio or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease affect the nerves and muscles in your foot, which can lead to foot deformities, including bunions. The muscle imbalances caused by these conditions can make your foot less stable and more likely to develop a bunion.

These are just some of the many factors that can contribute to bunions. Remember, the key to dealing with bunions effectively is understanding what causes them first and then tailoring treatment to address these causes. As foot care specialists, our podiatry services help you navigate these complexities, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any concerns.

How Can We Treat Bunions?

So, what’s the next step if you’ve spotted or felt the pain from a bunion? The most important thing is to stay calm. Yes, bunions can cause discomfort, but various treatments, from simple lifestyle changes to medical interventions, can provide relief.

Consider New Shoes – Sometimes, a change in footwear can work wonders. Opting for shoes with wider toe boxes can give your toes the space to breathe and move.

OTC Treatments – Over-the-counter treatments, including NSAID pain relievers, bunion pads and cushions, bunion braces, splints, and sleeves, help to alleviate pain and pressure on the bunion joint.

Ice And Heat – Applying heat and ice to your foot can reduce pain and inflammation, promote relaxation, and improve circulation.

But what if you’ve tried these methods and are still in pain? That’s when it’s time to call in the professionals. Physical therapy, medication, or surgery are alternative bunion treatment approaches to alleviate discomfort and get you back to enjoying your walks in the park.

How Can We Prevent Bunions?

Now that we’ve talked about the causes and treatments for bunions let’s address the big question: how can you prevent bunions in the first place?

Here are a few key things your feet need to stay healthy:

Proper Footwear – Shoes that fit well are crucial. They should be comfortable, provide good support, have a decent amount of cushion, and have enough room for your toes to move. Alternating between different pairs of shoes can be beneficial.

Good Hygiene – Washing your feet daily, drying them thoroughly, especially between the toes, and using foot powder promotes good foot hygiene and prevents issues like athlete’s foot or foot odor.

Regular Exams – Perform self-exams on your feet to catch any potential problems early. Look for changes in color, temperature, swelling, or any cuts, blisters, or scaling. Remember to check your toenails for any discoloration or changes in growth patterns.

Exercise – Your feet need exercise to keep the muscles strong and maintain joint flexibility. Toe stretches, resistance exercises, ankle rolls, or even walking barefoot in the grass helps limber your feet and lessen stiffness.

Healthy Diet and Body Weight – A diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D will keep your bones strong, including those in your feet. Maintaining a healthy weight will reduce unnecessary stress on your feet.

Seek Professional Care

Regular check-ups with a podiatrist can help prevent or address foot issues that may be hard to detect. Early detection of problems often leads to more effective treatment.

Remember, taking care of your feet, including treating bunions, is vital to your overall health and well-being. We hope this article answers your questions. However, if you’re experiencing foot issues, don’t hesitate to contact Plymouth Podiatry for help.