Painless Tips for Avoiding Problems
Bunions are a bone deformity of the big toe. The toe bones lean toward their smaller neighbors, while the metatarsal attached to them slides outward and away from the ones beside it. This causes the first joint of the big toe to bulge outward. The condition tends to put painful pressure on the ball of the foot and make it more difficult to both walk and wear shoes. It’s also a progressive condition, so unless the problem is addressed, it tends to get worse with time. You don’t have to be resigned to developing this painful issue, however. There are ways of preventing bunions from developing or at least worsening.
Preventing bunions involves taking steps to accommodate your lower limbs’ needs and the biomechanical weaknesses that lead to the problem in the first place. Arches that are too high or too low, loose joints, and even the shape of your bones can increase your chances of displacing the toe bones. If you are concerned that you might be developing a bunion, have your feet examined for other conditions that could contribute to the problem. By addressing and treating an issue like arch problems before it advances too far, you can prevent complications in the ball of your foot.
Your shoe choices also play an enormous role in your foot health. Footwear is supposed to protect and support your lower limbs, but it can also contribute to problems. Shoes that are too narrow or have pointed toe-boxes cramp the foot and put pressure on the bones. The pointed ends can also encourage the toes to displace. High heels force the body weight forward and into the front of the shoe, adding a significant amount of weight to the balls of the feet. Insufficient arch support can allow the foot to roll inward and put extra pressure on the first metatarsal joint as well. Choosing shoes that are cushioned, supportive, and wide enough for your feet is important for preventing the bones from displacing.
So instead of narrow dress shoes or pointy fashion pumps, look for footwear that has a wide, rounded toe box and a low heel—two inches or less in height. Make sure it has sufficient cushioning along the sole and supports the arch well. If you find that you still need extra padding or stabilization, consider investing in orthotics. Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and connective tissues in your feet, so they better support your bones, may also help you maintain your foot’s alignment.
If you’ve noticed a bump developing at the base of the big toe, or know that bunions run in your family and are concerned about your feet, contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle for an appointment or more information. You don’t have to accept painful foot problems inevitably. With a little care and conservative intervention, you can prevent them before they interrupt your daily life. Call (541) 776-3338 or visit the website contact page to reach our Medford office.