Bunion Prevention: Here's What You Need to Know

Your feet are a vital part of your body that bear the brunt of your weight all day. This is especially true if you’re active or are on your feet for work. When something like a bunion starts to form, it can cause you a great deal of pain and make even walking difficult.

At Phoenix Foot and Ankle Institute, our team is ready to help you find treatment for a variety of foot and ankle problems. Dr. Jeffrey McAlister is our board-certified, fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon who specializes in bunion correction, along with a myriad of other foot problems. Here he gives you prevention strategies to keep you on your feet in the future.

What are bunions?

Bunions are a bone deformity that occur at the base of your big toe for a variety of reasons. They originate in the metatarsophalangeal joint, also known as your MTP joint, where the bones slide out of place, forming a protrusion. A bunion can be very painful, and make it difficult for you to wear normal shoes, or participate in certain activities. 

So how do you know you have a bunion starting? Symptoms may vary from person to person, but traditionally, signs include:

You may also notice calluses or corns forming where your big toe rubs your second toe, a common occurrence. Understanding what causes bunions helps you to focus on prevention strategies for the future.

Prevention tips to follow

There are some causes of bunions you can control, while others, like heredity, you can’t. Even though you can’t control your gene pool, you can take steps to lessen your risk of developing bunions early on. The earlier you begin bunion prevention, the better your feet will fare later on.

Here are a few tips you can follow to decrease your risk of developing a bunion:

Wear shoes that fit properly

The best time to get shoes is in the evening, after being on your feet all day. That’s because your feet swell throughout the day, so in the evening, you have a better chance of getting shoes that fit your feet well. You also should make sure your shoes fit not only around your toes, but in your arch and heel as well.

Avoid high heels

Heels are generally bad for your feet — if you need to wear them, do so in moderation. Wearing heels on a regular basis can lead to bunions, because the angle of the heel forces your entire foot forward. This leads to your toes being crowded in the toe box and eventually, deformities develop.

Give your feet some rest

When you’re on your feet most of the day, they tend to get tired. Because they’re supporting most of your weight, it’s no wonder bunions occur. A good way to help decrease your risk is to give your feet a rest after a long day. This may involve propping them up while you’re watching TV, or giving them a nice soak in an Epsom salt bath to soothe them. 

Make sure your shoes are comfortable

This seems like a silly statement — who would wear shoes that don’t feel good? The truth is, if you have a bunion starting, even the slightest discomfort around your toes could be making the bunion worse. By making sure your shoes are completely comfortable, and wide enough for your feet, you decrease the chances that your bunion will start or become worse.

When to see a doctor

Even when you follow the proper prevention strategies, bunions can still occur, especially if you’re predisposed. You don’t want to let them go too long without seeing Dr. McAlister, to avoid them getting any worse. You should make an appointment with us if you notice any symptoms like:

Although your bunion may be tolerable at this point, Dr. McAlister can point you in the right direction of nonsurgical treatment that can lessen your chances of other complications like bursitis or hammertoe deformity. In some cases, surgery is necessary.

Bunions are no walk in the park, so if you’re dealing with one and are in need of treatment, call either of our convenient locations in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona at 602-761-7819, or book an appointment with us online today.

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