Bunions. Much like any difficult conversation, there is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is, they are permanent. That's right; unfortunately, that protruding bony bump at the base of your big toe is there for good. Unless it is treated surgically, that bunion of yours is here to stay. However, there is good news, as promised. There are ways to relieve the pain bunions cause and prevent them from getting worse. Here is how to cope with that discomfort you may be feeling.
Go out and buy yourself some new shoes. Fight pain with pleasure and invest in some kicks that will support your feet - there are options for both men and women. Avoid shoes with a narrow toe box, and high heels. They may look cute, but these types of shoes will certainly reinforce the misalignment of your big toe, causing the toe to angle towards the second toe even more so. Secondly, it is so important to maintain a healthy weight. Did you know that two to three times your actual body's weight goes into every step that you take? Unless you quit walking entirely, your feet will always be in use, risking irritation of the joint. This fact is inevitable; however, by maintaining a healthy weight, you can lessen the blow. The less pressure put on the joint, means less inflammation thus less pain and swelling.
Lastly, consider orthotics. Don't knock it until you try it. Orthotics may have an unfavorable rep on the streets, but no one has to know what is inside your shoes. Besides, in many cases, bunions can be accelerated by improper foot mechanics. In other words, our bodies tend to adapt or overcompensate in other areas, in response to pain. This can cause changes in the way you may walk or stand. Flat feet and/or excessive pronation are linked to the development of bunions and are known to worsen them. Let's not add insult to injury. Luckily, this can all be improved by orthotics made and prescribed by a podiatrist. Orthotics help regulate weight distribution, reducing the pressure put on the big toe joint, which is the ultimate source of your pain. In fact, orthotics can also slow down the development of bunions, by stabilizing the big toe joint and the bones in the foot. For less serious cases, try OTC insoles. For progressive bunions, ask your podiatrist for orthotics custom-made to your foot. Alleviating pain and preventing progression is the ultimate goal.
These are the top three tips for coping with bunions. Before jumping to surgery, these steps should be taken first. A life with bunions is not the end of the world - it is about finding the fixes that work for you. These three measures may not cure your bunion for good, but hopefully this will help prevent its further development. Give it a try, and contact your doctor for any help.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Hurless
DPM, FACFAS Board Certified Foot & Ankle Surgeon/Podiatrist
Medical Director, HealthyFeetStore.com