If you have bunions, you will understand why so many people with this condition are embarrassed by their feet. Although bunions are very common, they are not often talked about, and can become an uncomfortable secret. But with an understanding of why bunions are caused and what you can do to prevent them, it is possible to make a positive difference to the health of your feet. At Foot Solutions, our friendly team of experts are here to help you achieve better health from the feet up! Whether you are a walker or a hiker, a dancer or a biker, our full solution approach to footwear can help you get back to doing what you love. So don’t let bunions get you down – instead, let us help you get your feet feeling fancy again.
What are bunions?
Bunions – clinically known as hallux valgus – are an enlargement of joints at the base of the toe. They are most common at the base of the big toe joint, although bunions can also develop at the base of the smallest toe (known as a tailor’s bunion or a bunionette). The joint grows to be improperly aligned, leading to the toe pointing outwards and becoming increasingly uncomfortable. The condition is likely to become worse with time, and can develop into bursitis. This is inflammation of the bursa, which is a small sac of fluid near the toe joint. It will lead to pain, swelling and tenderness, with the possibility of arthritis also developing.
What causes bunions?
The underlying causes of bunions are still debated, but genetic predisposition seems to be the greatest factor. Some people think that high heels or ill-fitting footwear can also lead to bunions, but while these things can certainly exacerbate the condition, there is no scientific evidence to prove they actually cause bunions to begin with.
What effect do bunions have on your health?
At Foot Solutions, we believe that health starts from the feet up. The impact of pain and discomfort in your feet can have a huge effect on your overall health. Bunions in particular can lead to an array of other conditions.
- Impaired foot function – The displaced toe can affect how the rest of your foot works. As well as pain and swelling, it could cause damage such as hammertoes, corns, ingrown toenails, and calluses. A condition called metatarsalgia (ongoing intense pain in the ball of your foot) can also develop from constantly shifting your weight incorrectly.
- Sedentary lifestyle – Even the most active people can be really held back by a bunion. If your feet become too painful to enjoy a healthy level of exercise and activity, it can lead to weight gain and the development of chronic illness. You could be more at risk of heart disease, heart attacks and cancer if you become overweight. It can also affect your mental health if you are no longer able to move freely and comfortably, or enjoy the sociable interactions of daily exercise.
- Arthritis – A bunion causes increased friction in your toe joint, meaning arthritis becomes more likely. This wearing away of the cartilage at the joint can result in ongoing stiffness and pain, even if your bunion is eventually treated.
- Gait dysfunction – If your feet are out of alignment, it can throw everything else out too. Bunions can cause you to move in an unbalanced way, potentially leading to hip, knee and back problems further along.
Treatment for bunions
A key factor in treating bunions is timing. It is very important to catch the bunion during the early stages, at which point it should be possible to simply treat the bunion yourself. Lifestyle changes and consulting with foot experts such as our friendly team at Foot Solutions can make all the difference, and get you back to enjoying what you love – whether that is hiking or dancing. Bunions that have developed further may need to be treated by a specialist healthcare provider.
If you’ve caught your bunion in the early stages, here are some simple steps you can take to ease your aches:
- Rest! Put your feet up. It’s the perfect excuse, as rest is by far the simplest and most immediate treatment for a troublesome bunion!
- Apply ice for 15-20 minutes to help with swelling (you can repeat this several times a day)
- Take anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen (although medication is only a temporary relief and you should be sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions)
- Massage and stretch your feet each day – think of this as a pleasant evening ritual. Look up some special bunion stretches, and enjoy a bit of me-time.
- Invest in comfortable, properly fitted footwear. Avoid high heels, shoes with pointed toes, and any footwear that puts pressure on the bunion. Knowledgeable pedorthists at shops such as Foot Solutions can help find footwear that will support you in just the right way.
If your bunion has developed further, you should consult your healthcare provider. They may suggest a local injection of cortisone in order to ease your pain, but in the worst cases, corrective surgery may be required.
Prevention is better than cure
Bunions respond well to treatment if you catch them in the early stages. It is really key to look after your foot health from the start in order to slow or hopefully stop the development of a bunion. Proper footwear, and in some cases, customised orthotics, is one of the best ways you can prevent the progression of the condition.
Shoe shopping with bunions – try Foot Solutions
When you have bunions, it can be a real struggle shopping for shoes. It is so disappointing to find a great pair of shoes and discover that they simply will not fit. This can happen over and over again, if you are struggling with bunions but only shoe shopping in regular stores. Don’t let shoe shopping become a depressing and time consuming chore – instead, try Foot Solutions, for a bespoke personal service that can help your feet feel fantastic again!
The full solution approach
Our friendly pedorthists are experts in all things feet. They will understand your concerns and be at the ready with real solutions. You won’t need to compromise on either style or comfort – we have an excellent range of shoes your feet will love. We are more than just a shoe shop – we pride ourselves on offering a full solution, and so we can advise you on any additional support you may need. We can talk to you about custom orthotics, which can offer fantastic relief, or bunion splints, which have also been successful with many of our customers. Our comprehensive assessments have allowed us to help many people, often with life-changing results.
Marguerite Sperring came into our Plymouth store having suffered from severe foot pain for many years. We were able to diagnose a combination of raised arches and bunions that she had never been able to find appropriate shoes for. Her foot problems had led in turn to other health issues, but she had been told repeatedly by doctors that surgery was her only option. However, our team at Foot Solutions carefully assessed Marguerite’s situation using our comprehensive assessment, and supplied her with special orthotics to provide arch support. Marguerite was blown away by the results. “I can’t believe what a difference the special insoles have made. I didn’t realise how severe the pain had become – until it had gone! I can now walk tall and enjoy my life without pain and discomfort” she said. And by tackling her health from the feet up, she has discovered other, unexpected benefits. “My posture was poor due to my fallen arches which restricted my lung capacity and in turn affected my singing. Now I can sing without having to take so many breaths,” said Marguerite.
The foot consultation process
At Foot Solutions, we are so much more than a shoe store. When you come in to see us, you will be seen by one of our experienced fitters/pedhortists. They will sit down with you and go through our foot assessment process, finding out about any foot problems you have, any associated health issues, your foot health history, lifestyle, and what you are hoping for from your visit. They will then observe the feet, run various tests, and come back to you with a solution, which can vary from custom orthotics to comfort socks, as well as shoes that give you a perfect fit. Our foot assessment process takes approximately 30 minutes and there is no obligation attached. Our aim is to help every customer feel better and get back on their feet, doing what they enjoy.
So don’t delay, book an appointment today! Foot Solutions is dedicated to helping people like you achieve better health from the feet up. Whether you are a walker or a dancer, a hiker or a biker, Foot Solutions is the start of a happier, healthier you.
Book a free appointment now and take your first step towards banishing those bunions for good.