When you look down at your feet, what do you see? Healthy skin, nice nails, straight toes? Or does the tip of your big toe lean toward the second toe and stick out at the bottom where it joins your foot? That’s the classic look of a bunion, a condition that starts small but can end up being a serious deformity that limits what footwear you can use and causes you pain.
Where Do Bunions Come From?
Amazingly, the source of these painful bumps has become a small controversy in the world of podiatry—or maybe in the shoe world. For years, these unsightly deformities were blamed on fashionable shoes with pointed toes that scrunched up your toes and high heels that shoved them in even tighter. However, not everyone who wears such shoes gets them, so the current thought is that more than footwear is to blame. It seems that some people have inherited foot structures that make them more liable to developing this painful condition.
When your foot structure and gait are not ideal, pressure from walking and running can alter the way the bones and tendons move and pull on each other. If you overpronate (your ankle rolls inward more than normal), your big toe can be pushed sideways with each step. Repeated trauma like this can push it permanently out of position. The result is the proverbial bump on the side of your foot and a big toe that overlaps your second toe at the end. You may also end up with a lot of pain.
Is There a Cure for Bunions?
If they are caused by inherited foot structures, you will have a fight on your hands, but you can win—or at least hold your own. At the first sign that your big toe is moving out of position, get yourself to the Palmer Foot Clinic. Podiatrist Iain Palmer has the training and expertise in foot mechanics to see where the problem lies and recommend ways of treating it.
Our office always tries conservative treatments when possible. We may begin with having you rest your foot and ice the toe area to reduce any swelling or pain. We will encourage you to find shoes that don’t make the problem worse, with roomy insteps and lower heels to let your toes move freely and relieve pressure on the ball of your foot. We may recommend night splints to help hold the toe in position, and show you how to pad and tape your foot to hold them there during the day. Finally, we can fit you with custom orthotics that address any abnormalities in your stride that could contribute to the problem.
Unless the condition is causing you a lot of pain and limiting your movement, surgery is not recommended. It is never a good idea to have bunions corrected surgically just so you can wear certain shoe styles. If the conservative treatments relieve your pain and allow you to live life normally, that’s a good place to be, and our goal is to get you there. Call the Palmer Foot Clinic in Winnipeg, Manitoba today at (204) 697-0649.