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What Can I Do About Bunions?

Updated on June 2, 2016
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella has an avid interest in physical and mental health and fitness related issues and facts dealing with sound nutritional advice.

Flip-flopping Your Way To Freedom

Flip flops are the ideal foot wear for bunion sufferers
Flip flops are the ideal foot wear for bunion sufferers | Source

Know Your Bunions

Bunions are bony protuberances at the side of the foot beneath the big toe joint and can be more than just a nuisance. They may appear to be a trivial physical ailment until they start to cause excruciating pain and inflammation both at the actual site of the bunion and elsewhere in the foot. If you have a bunion you will know how difficult it is to find shoes that not only fit but do not make the condition even worse. Bunion sufferers need to set their feet free by making sure their shoes are large enough and everyone would likely benefit from the same strategy.

The only way to treat bunions is by surgery but this is often not the best option due to long periods of immobility and considerable post-operative pain for up to two months and the fact that there is a high chance that the bunion will return at some point. Flexibility in the big toe joint can also be permanently diminished after such a medical procedure.

It’s easy to forget your feet until they cause you pain; they are very intricate structures that assist not only with weight distribution but with balance too. They are designed to deal with an incredible amount of pressure - almost twice your weight when walking - but with the incorrect shoes the whole procedure is distorted. The bones in toes can become badly aligned due to poorly fitting shoes whether bunions are present or not and will eventually cease to function efficiently sometimes causing nerve damage and a whole set of other problems if the situation is not addressed. A bunion may cause no problem at all if the shoes you choose are large enough to accommodate it but when you cram your feet into the wrong shoes it will be certain to cause trouble.

At some point everyone has been guilty of treating their feet as if they are just solid chunks of flesh that can be moulded to the dictates of fashion. But even shoes that are only slightly too small which do not provide enough room for your toes to fulfil their purpose can be detrimental, so if your bunions are causing you trouble the first thing you need to do is ensure there is sufficient space in your shoes so the bunion is not being aggravated further. Look at the shoes you're wearing right now - is there an imprint of your bunion on the leather of the uppers? If so, then your bunion does not have enough room and will eventually cause inflammation and pain in the rest of your foot especially if you walk a great deal. One day you may not be able to walk at all pain-free unless the problem is solved by wearing the appropriate footwear. Even ‘sensible’ flat shoes if not wide enough to accommodate the bunion can cause trouble.


Choose Sensible Shoes

Pointy shoes and high heels can aggravate existing foot ailments and cause new ones. Let’s face it, such shoes might look sexy and give the ‘vertically challenged’ that little bit more confidence but they certainly aren’t foot-shaped and can never be foot-friendly by their very design. If someone were to design the perfect shoe it would allow all parts of the foot to move freely but sadly the consumer is more inclined to view shoes as a fashion statement rather than something that should protect and preserve the structure of the foot with every single step rather than cause it injury. Bunion sufferers are likely more aware of this than most.

Find shoes that don't aggravate your feet. Following the dictates of fashion may need to be sacrificed for comfort. Giving your feet some freedom is easy in summer as the humble flip-flop is probably going to be your best ally. Flip flops do however come in a vast selection of fashionable styles so you don't have to wear the basic beach variety as pictured above. Your toes will all be able to move freely with no pressure and the bunion area on the side of the foot will not be subject to any friction. Going barefoot round the house or on any soft surfaces will also help immensely.

Look at your toes as you stand barefoot – are they all clumped together with no visible space between them? If they are then you have been wearing shoes that are far too small. In cultures that do not wear shoes the toes are far more spread out and thus have room to function well. Even tights and socks with insufficient ‘give’ can cause toes to become misshapen so be very careful whatever your preferred choice of footwear. If your shoes are rubbing you throw them out – they are definitely harming your feet! Never expect a foot to grow used to a shoe that is uncomfortable to begin with. ’Walking them in’ will only cause further troubles. A shoe should be a platform for the foot to function properly and form an adequate protective barrier between the sole of the foot and the surface beneath and must allow room for the entire foot - toes included. Ill-fitting sandals, where your heel is hanging over the back and your toes are poking out of the sides are just as bad as poorly fitting enclosed shoes because there is not the space for the toes to assist in weight distribution and balance. No wonder so many people suffer from foot troubles and osteoarthritis as they grow older. When you go shopping for new shoes, forget the sizes on the boxes - just try to find the best fitting shoes that your individual feet demand.


Go Barefoot Whenever You Can

A long walk in comfortable footwear will provide your feet with all the freedom they need to stay healthy and hopefully bunion free. If you live near the coast and can walk and paddle barefoot along a sandy beach whenever you have the opportunity this is probably the best thing you can do for your feet. The sea water is refreshing and your toes will be able to function as nature intended. The grainy sand will act as a natural abrasive for hard skin and your whole body will benefit from the invigorating experience. Failing that, a foot spa is a luxury most can afford and at the end of a busy day is the ideal treatment for tired and aching feet whether you suffer from bunions or not Or why not go barefoot in the park by walking on some soft grass?This is especially invigorating for the feet after rain has fallen and will leave you with a sense of well being.



Author's Note:

I was born with a hereditary foot deformity on my left foot that prevents me from wearing fashionable shoes so it's flip flops in the summer and 'ug' boots in the winter! I can walk for miles in either and have no intention of compromising my mobility by dispensing with my 'flatties' to look good in high heels - they would not fit my left foot anyway due to it's excessive width. I'm only five foot two so even with heels most of the population would still be taller than me! My doctor says I could have an operation to shave down the bony protuberance on my left foot but it might not prove successful and would mean I would be unable to walk for at least two months. Sometimes it's just better to leave things as they are.

My Right Foot And My Wrong Foot On Vacation!!

Put your feet up after a stroll along the sands!
Put your feet up after a stroll along the sands! | Source

Good Advice For Bunion Sufferers

Exercises for Bunion Sufferers

© 2015 Stella Kaye

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    • Stella Kaye profile image
      Author

      Stella Kaye 2 years ago

      Thank you for your most welcome comment: I'm pleased you found my article helpful and hope you enjoy the warmer months to come.

    • thebrownbear profile image

      thebrownbear 2 years ago

      Can't wait to go barefoot once all the snow melts and the warm sunshine warms the earth again. I also love wearing my new deerskin moccasins as they are extremely comfortable and now after wearing them for week I can say they fit the criteria you've listed. Helpful hub. Thanks for sharing!