Can Bunions Be Prevented?

May 1, 2023

Bunions are a foot condition affecting millions of people globally. They cause discomfort, pain, and limit mobility. Although they can be hereditary, there are steps that you can follow to prevent bunions from developing or becoming worse.

This article will explore some ways in which bunions can be prevented. Therefore, you can maintain healthy and pain-free feet. Whether you’re prone to developing bunions or looking to maintain the health of your feet, these tips have proven useful.

What are Bunions?

Bunions are bony bumps that form at the joint at the bottom of the big toe. They occur when the front foot bones move out of place. This causes the big toe tip to pull towards the other toes and forces the joint at the bottom of the big toe to stick out. 

The skin covering the bunion may be red and sore. This foot deformity is also known as hallux abducto valgus. It results from years of pressure on the big toe joint (the metatarsophalangeal, or MTP). Ultimately, the toe joint gets out of alignment, and a bony bump forms. 

Bunion Feet on Grass

What Causes Bunions?

Some of the common causes of bunions are:

Inherited Foot Types

This is the most common cause of bunions. Some people are born with a foot structure that makes them more prone to developing bunions. Certain foot types put more stress on the big toe joint, which becomes misaligned over time. For instance, people with flat feet or low arches may be more likely to develop bunions because their feet tend to overpronate when walking.

Foot Stress or Injuries

Wearing tight, narrow, or high-heeled shoes puts excessive pressure on the big toe joint. This can lead to the development of a bunion. In addition, activities involving repetitive stress on the feet, such as ballet or running, can also increase the risk of misalignment leading to a bunion.

Deformities Present at Birth 

People born with foot deformities can increase their risk of developing bunions later. For instance, a condition called metatarsus adductus causes the front part of the foot to turn inward, which can put added pressure on the big toe joint. In addition, conditions like cerebral palsy or Down syndrome can also increase the risk.

It’s vital to note that while these factors can increase the risk of developing bunions, not everyone with them will develop bunions. In addition, other factors contribute to bunions’ development; however, they’re not yet fully understood. Suppose you are experiencing foot pain or notice a bony bump forming, it’s important to talk with our bunion experts. 

Bunion with X-Ray

What are the Symptoms of a Bunion?

Supposing you have a bunion, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Ongoing big toe or foot pain. A bunion is painful because it affects the movement of the toes and foot bones. If you have bunions on both feet, they tend to cause more symptoms than one foot.
  • A visible bump on your big toe joint. If you notice a bump forming on the joint where your big toe meets your foot, it’s an indication.
  • Decreased movement of your big toe. The bump can make it challenging for the big toe to move up and down when walking. It can result in swelling in the joint and pain during activity.
  • Difficulty finding a comfortable pair of shoes. The toe bump can make it difficult to find a perfect fit, especially in high heels and narrow-toed shoes like ballet flats or loafers with elastic bows.

Can Bunions Be Prevented?

Yes! Bunions are preventable. However, while there is no guaranteed method, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing them. If you already have one, these steps can help slow their progression.

Make Sure Your Shoes Fit and are the Right Size

The most important step in bunion prevention is wearing shoes that fit well and are the right size. This means choosing shoes wide enough in the toe box and having a low heel. Avoid too-tight shoes that constrict your toes. These put pressure on the big toe joint and increase your risk of developing a bunion.

Avoid Wearing High Heels 

High heels can put extra pressure on the ball of the foot and the big toe joint. If you must wear them, choose styles with a heel height of two inches or less, and try to limit frequent use. Make sure that your shoes are wide enough so that there is no pinching or rubbing against your toes or instep when standing or walking around in them.

Rest Your Feet Regularly 

If you have a job where you stand all day long, don’t forget to take frequent breaks so that your feet can rest as well. This will help reduce the stress on your feet and prevent further damage from occurring. Try to elevate your feet whenever possible, and take short walks to improve circulation.

Do Bunion Stretches and Exercises Regularly to Strengthen Your Feet 

Strengthening your foot muscles can help improve your foot alignment and reduce your risk of developing bunions. Do stretches and exercises daily, such as toe curls, toe spreads, and foot arch lifts, to keep your feet strong and flexible.

Monitor Your Feet for Changes

It’s important to be aware of any changes in your feet and get them checked out by your doctor if necessary. If you notice a new bump or pain along one side of your foot, it could be a bunion forming, and you should see our foot doctors right away.

Contact Us Today for Bunion Help

If you are experiencing foot and ankle pain or have concerns about your foot health, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Comprehensive Foot & Ankle Centers! Our six office locations are conveniently situated throughout the Kansas City area. Three of our offices are in Missouri, and the other three offices are in Kansas.

At Comprehensive Foot & Ankle Centers, we offer a variety of treatments for bunions, such as custom orthotics, Lapiplasty minimally invasive bunion correction surgery, and other conservative treatments. Our podiatrists, with years of experience, will work with you to determine the best treatment plan. 

We aim to provide the highest quality of care and the best possible outcomes for our patients. To regain your pain-free foot, contact us at (816) 455-1155 for more information or schedule an appointment with one of our expert podiatrists.