Appearing as large bumps at base of big toe of the foot, bunions can make it difficult to perform everyday activities like walking or exercising or fitting into shoes comfortably. In a warm climate like Los Angeles, where people wear sandals year-round, bunions also pose a cosmetic problem, leading to embarrassment over the appearance of the foot.
The board-certified podiatrists at La Peer Health Systems’ Bunion Center of Excellence are committed to educating people about foot health in hopes of preventing what can be a painful and debilitating condition. If you think you may be suffering from bunions, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced foot specialists for a consultation by calling (888) 552-9732 or sending us an email.
Common Causes of Bunions
Commonly misspelled as bunyon or bunnion, and also known as a bunionette or Taylor’s bunion, bunions occur from an imbalance of pressure on the foot joints and tendons. The pressure of bearing and shifting weight causes the big toe joint to form a bony protrusion that extends beyond the usual boundaries of the foot. Without treatment, bunions tend to grow larger and more painful.
If you notice any of the following, it is important to see a board-certified podiatrist to assess your condition and determine the best form of treatment:
- Lump on outside of foot
- Painful lump on foot
- Painful feet
- Sore feet
- Pain in joint of big toe
Although anyone may develop bunions over the course of his or her lifetime, there are a number of factors that can make you more susceptible to the condition. Six possible causes of bunions include:
- High heels, sandals and other uncomfortable, poorly supportive footwear
- Excessive foot pronation during walking or running
- Certain foot types
- Injury to the great toe joint
High heels and other improper footwear are responsible for a majority of bunion cases. Shoes that are too tall or too narrow tend to force the toes together. Over time, this can cause unnatural pressure on the big toe joint and encourage bunions to form. According to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society, 88 percent of American women wear shoes that are too small for their feet. This statistic may help to explain why bunions are nine times more common in women than men.
Another frequent cause of bunions and other foot conditions is arthritis. Because arthritis sufferers experience discomfort when walking, they may begin to put pressure on different parts of the foot to alleviate the pain. Inflammatory and degenerative forms of arthritis can also lead to the deterioration of the big toe’s protective cartilage.
Because the shape of the foot affects whether bunions develop, the condition can also be hereditary. If a close relative suffers from bunions, you may be at risk of developing the condition in the future.
Not only do bunions cause discomfort and inconvenience (preventing you from performing everyday activities), but the condition also causes a great deal of embarrassment about the appearance of one’s foot and toes. Fortunately, you can do a lot to mitigate your risk of developing bunions.
The best way to protect your feet from bunions is to avoid tight and ill-fitting footwear. The podiatrists at the Bunion Center of Excellence recommend that people have both feet measured individually, as the sizes may differ, and that they choose shoes based on overall comfort. Women should also avoid wearing high heels and other restrictive footwear for prolonged periods. Custom orthotic arch supporting insoles worn inside your shoes, made by casting your foot, are very effective in slowing or preventing bunion growth.
When left untreated, bunions tend to grow larger and more painful over time. To avoid more costly treatments and surgeries, it’s important to seek medical care when the bunion is in its early stages. If you think you may be suffering from bunions, don’t hesitate to contact the Bunion Center of Excellence for a consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bunions
Q: How are bunions hereditary?
A: The shape of the foot can put unnatural amounts of pressure on the big toe joint and cause bunions to form. If someone in your family suffered from bunions, you may have a greater risk of developing the condition.
Q: Will my bunion necessarily worsen over time?
A: Not all bunions worsen with time. However, many bunions do become larger and more painful as they progress. For this reason, it’s important to seek treatment for bunions as soon as they appear.
Q: Can bunions really be prevented?
A: Yes! Although some cases of bunions may be hereditary or caused by foot injuries, wearing appropriate shoes and custom orthotics made by a foot and ankle specialist can help prevent bunions from forming.
Q: How are bunions diagnosed?
A: Our board-certified podiatrist at the Bunion Center of Excellence will examine the foot for signs of bunions. They may also take X-rays and measure the angles between the bones of the foot.
Q: What are the best shoes for preventing bunions?
A: Proper footwear with low heels, appropriate arch support and sufficient toe space can do a great deal to prevent you from developing bunions. For running, the physicians can recommend certain motion-controlling running shoes along with custom physician casted orthotics to prevent pathological forces that cause bunions.
Contact a Podiatrist at the Bunion Surgery Center of Excellence
If you’re suffering from bunions, schedule an appointment with our board-certified podiatrists today. Everyone on staff at the Bunion Surgery Center of Excellence is highly trained and very experienced. We have the expertise to make sure that your experience is handled courteously and professionally. Contact us today at (888) 552-9732.
Next, learn more about Who Gets Bunions.