5 Important Things That You Need To Know About Bunions

Posted on: 20 March 2015

Bunions are the sort of thing that no one ever really thinks about until they discover that they've got one on their foot. Bunions range from mild to severe, with the most serious cases requiring surgical removal. Fortunately, many bunions are simply nuisances rather than crippling growths that interfere with daily life. Following are eight things that you need to know about bunions.

Bunions Run in Families

The development of bunions is thought to be genetic, so your chances of getting them are stronger if you have a family history of bunions. Bunions are also more likely to develop in women than in men, so be on the lookout for them if you are female and your mother, grandmother, or aunts have had significant bunion issues. Keep in mind, however, that heredity isn't everything, and that substantial inroads have been made in recent years concerning bunion treatment.

Bunions Are Not Bone Growths

Bunions are caused by a misalignment of the joint in the big toe that causes the bones to press against the skin and to create a bulge on the side of the foot. Although bone growth is frequently a factor in the development of bunions, it's not the primary cause.

Bunions Are Progressive

Like many other health conditions, bunions start out small and grow larger as time goes by. However, the time frame between individuals regarding bunion growth is extremely variable. In some people, bunions may remain small and insignificant for a number of years and may also fail to get bigger at all, while others experience rapid growth. Size doesn't seem to matter much when it comes to the pain that bunions can produce, however. Small bunions have been known to be extremely painful, while large ones have been known to produce no pain at all -- and vice versa. Bunions are a very individual ailment that seems to affect people in a huge variety of ways, so keep in mind that your experience with bunions will not necessarily mirror that of anyone else.

Bunions Can Cause Your Feet to Become Deformed

One of the reasons why you should never ignore a bunion is that it has the potential to cause severe deformities in your foot that can seriously interfere with your ability to walk. The most common foot deformity caused by bunions happens when the big toe is pushed toward the second toe to the extent that it becomes pushed underneath the second toe. this can cause the second toe to buckle and become dislocated, and in severe cases, other toes may follow suit. Fallen arches are also a potential side effect of bunions, and many people also develop hard, thick callouses on the soles of their feet due to being forced to walk in an abnormal manner that overuses certain parts of the bottom of the foot.

High Heels and Pointed Toes Can Make Bunions Worse

One of the first things that you should do when you notice a fledgling bunion on your foot is to avoid wearing high heels, particularly those that feature pointed toes. Wearing high heels places pressure on the balls of the feet, which can worsen existing bunions. High heels also cause a condition known as Equinus, or excessive tightening of the calf muscles, which can play a significant role in the development of bunions. Pointed toes can squeeze the toes together, thereby providing optimal conditions for bunion development. Uncomfortable shoes of any kind should be avoided if you want to lower your risk of developing bunions.

The first thing that you should do after you notice a bunion is to make an appointment with a podiatrist so that they can begin exploring treatment options.