All About Bunions!
They're a common concern when it comes to your feet and if you haven't suffered from them yourself, you're bound to know someone who has!
So, what are bunions?
A bunion, or as we like to call it hallux abductovalgus, is a deformity at the base of the
big toe joint. A bunion is typically seen as the big toe moving away from its regular
position and into the little toes and causing the base of the big toe to poke out.
It can cause the forefoot (front of the foot) to widen and make the foot challenging to fit into
How do they happen?
Firstly, bunions can be hereditary. Our family history determines the shape and structure
of our feet.
There are a few foot characteristics, such as pronated foot types, low arches
that are prone to bunions. Pair that up alongside narrow or pointed footwear, and the
ideal environment for a bunion is created.
Occupation can be a factor in bunions occurring; work roles that involve prolonged standing and walking cause these individuals to experience repetitive stress on the feet. Activities such as ballet are also renowned for repetitive pressure on the big toe joint as well.
High heels are another thing that can increase the load-bearing to the joints in the forefoot region as they move the body weight forward, putting load onto the forefoot region.
Let’s stop this bumpy situation!
The best way to prevent a bunion is to address it before it can worsen, especially if there
is a family history. Early intervention is incredibly important when it comes to bunions!
The first thing you can do is look at the footwear you use.
Avoid narrow fitting shoes - footwear should provide enough width in the toe box (front of the shoe) to accommodate your forefoot.
They should only flex at the big toe joint area of the footwear and be firm
by the arch (sometimes called the shank) of the shoe.
Lastly, a firm heel counter (part of the shoe around the heels) keeps your foot in place with a fastening mechanism such as laces or straps.
Keep high heels and thongs to the minimum.
Secondly, you can use guards or cushioning.
It's possible to protect the skin around the big toe joint with bunion guards or gel
cushioning. Make sure that the footwear you have has enough space to accommodate
Finally, work those muscles!
Strengthening the muscles that support the big toe joint is crucial.
We like to call these exercises toe yoga!
1. While sitting, place your foot on the floor. With your heel fixed to the ground, lift
and spread your toes. Repeat this exercise 10 to 20 times on each foot.
2. While sitting on a chair, lean over and grip your big toe. Begin circling the toe
clockwise, 20 times. Stop and reverse the direction for another 20 circles.
Complete 2 to 3 sets on each toe. This mobilises the joints in your toe and helps
to reduce stiffness.
When to see a podiatrist?
If your bunion continues to cause discomfort and interrupt day-to-day activities, it may be time to see a Podiatrist.
Our approach to a bunion is to address biomechanics; this means to figure out the structure and function of the foot. This allows us to implement a treatment plan.
Our treatment may include a specific exercise program, personalised footwear advice, in-shoe modifications, prefabricated foot orthotics, or custom foot orthotics.
There are a number of ways to handle our friend 'the bunion' so it's important that you do see your Podiatrist to find the solution that works best for you!