A bunion occurs when your big toe points inward, toward your other toes, causing a foot deformity. It’s a relatively common condition generally seen in older women. In most cases, bunions don’t require surgery. Instead, your doctor may recommend shoe modifications, custom orthotics, or exercises to ease pain.
At PMC Foot and Ankle in Spring, Texas, Dr. Eric Blanson specializes in many types of foot problems, including bunions. Here, he shares some important information about bunions and how you can ease the discomfort they cause by choosing the right shoes.
How bunions form
A bunion is formed when your big toe pushes against your other toes. The pain can be unbearable or, in less severe cases, the pain can be relatively manageable. When your big toe pushes inward, the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint angles outward, causing a noticeable bump on your foot below your big toe called a bunion.
Causes of bunions
Bunions can arise for a variety of reasons. You may have an inherited foot type, foot stress or sports injuries, or deformities present at birth. Shoe size and fit also make a big impact on bunion formation. Shoes that are tight, high-heeled, or too-narrow can cause bunions.
When to consider a shoe modification
As you age, play sports, gain weight, and experience stress, your joints can take a hit. A bunion can often result from these stressors. Custom orthotics and shoe modifications absorb the impact of stress and everyday activities to restore balance and alleviate bunion pain. If you’re experiencing bunion pain, it’s time to explore your shoe-modification options.
Invest in a custom orthotic
There are two types of orthotics: custom and over-the-counter. Over-the-counter orthotics are more general, and often provide temporary pain relief for mild cases of bunion pain.
Custom orthotics are special shoe or heel inserts prescribed by your doctor. They’re specifically designed to relieve foot and ankle pain, including bunion pain. A custom orthotic is a highly recommended shoe modification to help relieve stress.
Find the right shoe style
Believe it or not, your shoe size, style, and fit play a large role in bunion formation. Choosing the right style, fit, and size can make a big impact on your bunions. Basic shoe models include flip-flops, sandals, and running shoes. These shoes lack the support and width needed for your foot to function properly when stress is placed on the foot.
Flip-flops irritate the big toe joint and are often the direct cause of bunions. Flats are a good option because the shoe places your body weight onto the balls of your feet. Find shoes that provide support for your entire foot, rather than one area of your foot.
Wear cushioning pads
Cushioning pads are similar to orthotics. The primary difference is that a cushioning pad offers extra shock absorption, an orthotic offers that, plus support. Cushioning pads lessen the weight placed on your foot when you’re walking or engaging in athletic activities. Wear thick socks to avoid environmental exposure to your bunions!
Take the first step to get your bunion pain under control. Schedule your first appointment online or call us at the office!