A bunion is a deformity of the foot in which the big toe laterally deviates, creating a large bony protrusion. The causes are various and complex, and the treatment of bunions can be difficult.
Developing a bunion is typically the result of hereditary predisposition and the excessive wearing of unsuitable shoes. A protruding outward bony hump sticks out of the base of the big toe over time.
Because this deformity is manifesting at the site of the big toe joint, it makes walking or moving your big toe extremely painful. However, treating this can be done at home too! Check out how to do it in this blog.
Causes of Bunions
While several factors that increase the risk of developing bunions, including arthritis, limb length differences, and genetics, the primary culprit may be traditional shoes that make the feet of women appear small and pointed.
Fashionable women’s shoes (and certain men’s shoes) appear to have toe boxes tapered, pulling large toes inwards. Elevated heels and arch supports, which are also popular among conventional shoes, may also contribute to bunion development.
For several years wearing these kinds of shoes will lead to deformation of the feet, in which the big toe basically remains bent rising towards the second toe. If this occurs, the point at which the bunion takes place begins to protrude further.
Who Are at Risk?
Individuals whose job requires them to stay on their feet or walk for long stretches have an increased risk of bunions forming. Ballet dancers are especially susceptible to bunions because their feet constantly go through unnecessary pressure.
Bunions are typical in individuals with a problem foot structure, such as those with excessively loose ligaments, abnormally flexible joints, or flat feet.
Pregnant women are at greater risk of developing bunions and other foot problems because they undergo other hormonal changes that make their feet flatter and their ligaments fairly loose.
Relief and Prevention
Sit down on a surface about 6 inches away from the floor with your feet. Slowly point and curl down your toes. Repeat this for two or three sets for 20 reps.
Place your foot on the floor when sitting. You raise and stretch your toes with your heel fixed to the bottom. Repeat that exercise on each foot 10 to 20 times.
Lean back and grab your big toe as you sit on a chair. Start to circle your toe in a clockwise direction, 20 times. Stop for another 20 circles and reverse the direction.
Fill in 2 to 3 sets on each toe. Wrap a resistance band around the two big feet. Keep the band close, with a small resistance band, bring the two broad toes away from the other toes.
Nonsurgical Treatments for Bunions at Home
Bunion surgery isn’t required for many people. However, it is important to find relief in at-home remedies. The good news is that there are some over-the-counter (OTC) medications you can try, and you can adopt lifestyle changes to alleviate bunion symptoms.
For several patients, the first line of protection includes the use of an OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen, which also helps with pain relief. OTC pain relief is not far behind choosing and wearing proper footwear. It means shoes that fit well in the toe area and are big and have a low heel.
You should purchase OTC pads, which are usually filled with gel to cover the bunion to prevent rubbing and discomfort. Some physicians would prescribe inserts of padded shoes, which will help to spread pressure when you walk. This could keep your bunion from getting worse.
Whether you have been on your feet a lot or are feeling bunion inflammation and discomfort, icing the area will help alleviate pain. Treat your feet in warm water soak with Epsom salt at the end of a long day. It will help to reduce the discomfort and the inflammation.
When to See the Doctor
When at-home treatments don’t offer much relief, it may be time to see a doctor. They can help you decide whether surgery is an option, particularly if nonsurgical treatments don’t work.
Physicians have multiple surgical choices to get the toe back to its usual location. Usually, they base their decision on bunion frequency.
More than 64 million people develop a bunion. When you are part of this community, then you know all too well that it is a concern to find ways to alleviate discomfort and avoid potential bunions.
With some common lifestyle changes — like wearing properly fitting shoes — and a few quick toe exercises, you can relieve discomfort, delay the bunion development, and probably hold away potential bunions.