A Guide to Bunions
“I prefer wearing flat open shoes. At least they make these bunions less worse. They were actually recommended by my doctor after the bunions became unbearable when I wore tight shoes.” That’s part of a conversation I overheard from a tourist who was having a chat with a fellow traveler. What are bunions I wondered. I couldn’t see any problem with the tourist’s foot expect a protrusion at the edge of the big toe. I let the issue go and continued on my way.
However, a week later, I came across the same condition and this time, it was affecting one of my friends. He went on to confirm my initial suspicion regarding the protrusion at the edge of the big to and went on to educate me more on the condition. Here’s some of the stuff I learned.
What are bunions?
A bunion is a bone deformity that affects the joint between the first metatarsal and the big toe. The deformity is such that the big toe ends to point towards the other toes. It can also affect the small toe where it points towards or tends to ride upon the next toe. In this case, it’s called a bunionette or tailors bunion. Besides the protrusion of the edge of the big toe, symptoms such as inflammation and pain can accompany the condition.
What causes bunions?
Studies conducted that the main contributing factor for this condition is wearing ill fitting shoes. The study was conducted among cultures that don’t wear shoes and it concluded that they were less likely to suffer from the condition. Besides wearing ill fitting shoes bunions are also believed to be caused by conditions affecting the foot structure such as flat foot and tenderness of the tendons and ligaments connecting toe joints.
The bunion develops over time. This occurs when pressure is repeatedly applied on the affected toe over an extended period. It’s therefore recommended that the affected person wears proper fitting shoes as a way of preventing further development of the condition. But what are proper fitting shoes when it comes to preventing and managing bunions?
Some of the characteristics of the shoes to wear in order to prevent or manage bunions include the following.
First, the shoe should be wide enough at the toe box. Wide shoes will ensure that your toes aren’t squeezed against each other. Remember, wearing tight fitting shoes over an extended period of time is what causes bunions. So you can’t expect to develop the condition from wearing the shoes just once and wearing shoes that are wide at the front will go a long way in preventing the condition from developing.
Second, the shoe should have a low heel. High heel shoes tend to force the toes toward the end of the shoe squeezing them together. This increases risk of developing bunions.
Third, the shoe should be made from breathable material. That is, material that allows your foot to expand and contract with ease. Shoes made from natural material such as leather are recommended.