When bunions develop in your feet, they’re not only unattractive, they can also cause considerable pain when they become inflamed, making wearing even the roomiest shoes uncomfortable.
If you know that bunions run in your family or you’ve seen someone close to you go through bunion treatment, including surgery, you know you want to avoid the problem.
To help, the team of experienced podiatrists at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle thought we’d take this opportunity to outline a few bunion prevention tips.
Why bunion prevention is key
Bunions may look like just simple bony protrusions, but the condition runs far deeper into your joint. Bunions occur when the bones in your metatarsophalangeal joint (the large joint in your big toe) move out of alignment. First, your metatarsal bone migrates toward the inside of your foot, pushing your small phalanx bone toward the outside.
As a result of this shift in the bones in your big toe, your body often creates more bone to protect the joint, which is what creates the bunion bump.
Once bunions develop, they continue to progress, and they can eventually force your big toe over or under your second toe, creating even more discomfort.
Unfortunately, once a bunion develops, the condition doesn’t go away on its own, which is why we emphasize prevention. By following a few general rules, you can halt a bunion from progressing or prevent one in the first place.
1. Don’t crowd your toes
The first step to avoiding bunions is to choose shoes with plenty of room for your toes. Your feet rely on every component bearing its weight, which means you should spread out the workload to all of your toes by giving them plenty of space.
2. Avoid high heels
There are many reasons why podiatrists aren’t big fans of high heels. It’s because they put you at risk of bunions. High heels force more weight onto your toes, which can cause misalignments in your joints, as we see with bunions.
If your high heels feature pointy toes, the potential for damage increases as you’re forcing the weight onto your toes and limiting their ability to handle the extra burden.
If you don’t want to give up the height of high heels, we recommend that you turn to platform shoes that lift your entire foot.
3. Exercise your toes
Your big toes feature soft connective tissues that help stabilize the joints. If you want to avoid bunions, you can try exercising and stretching these tissues to keep them healthy. For example, try using your toes to pick up objects or place your toes on top of a tennis ball and squeeze.
We’re happy to provide you with a list of exercises that help you avoid bunions.
4. Early intervention
If despite your best efforts, you see the first stages of a bunion start to develop, we urge you to come see us right away. In addition to following the tips above, we can provide you with custom orthotics to rebalance your foot.
If you have more questions about bunion prevention, please contact one of our offices in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, or Lebanon, Tennessee.
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