What Are Bunions?: A Guide to the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

According to research conducted in 2011, 36% of a study population experienced bunions. The research also indicated that bunions may impact women more than men, and the risk of bunions increases with age.

But what are bunions?

Keep reading this article to learn all about bunions, including why and how they form, how to treat bunions, and how to prevent bunions.

What Are Bunions?

First things first, what are bunions?

Bunions are deformities that impact the big toe. More specifically, they impact the base of the big toe, around the joint where the toe meets the foot. When a bunion develops, it appears as a large bump on the outside of this base.

Other symptoms may include swelling, redness, and soreness.

What Causes Bunions?

Bunions form as a result of the big toe pushing against the other toes, eventually causing the joint of the big toe to point outwards.

One of the most common contributors to bunions is wearing tight or narrow shoes. People might be born with foot deformities or a specific foot shape that makes them more susceptible to bunions. Lastly, certain joint conditions like arthritis may lead to bunions.

Treatment Options

Foot bunions lead to pain and stiffness. More serious bunions may interfere with one’s capacity to walk or exercise. Therefore, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

If a bunion is suspected, the first step is to go see a doctor.

A doctor will be able to address the cause of the bunion and the appropriate treatment method. If it’s an easy fix, such as wearing the wrong pair of shoes, a doctor might recommend pain-relievers to reduce swelling and pain. Then they may suggest more comfortable footwear.

For a more serious bunion, a doctor may suggest bunion surgery. This surgery is called a bunionectomy and can be performed under general or local anesthesia. Recovery from surgery takes anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks.

During recovery, one might wear bandaging or a boot to protect the foot from further injury.

Preventative Measures

The best strategy for preventing bunions is investing in proper footwear. Find shoes that allow for plenty of room for the toes to move around, but still feel secure on the feet. Heels and other narrow or pointed shoes are often the culprits of bunions on feet.

Shoe inserts may also help prevent bunions by providing greater comfort and support to the foot. For anyone that lives an active lifestyle, the inserts also reduce joint and muscle pain.

Another method of prevention is exercise.

Try incorporating stretching that focuses on the muscles in the toes and feet. Examples include toe points, toe curls, toe splays, toe raises, and other gripping exercises. These exercises target the muscles and enhance the support given by the foot and ankle.

Walking is another simple exercise that strengthens the feet, while also contributing to better overall health.

Minimize Bunions on Feet

So, what are bunions?

Bunions are foot deformities that most likely occur due to tight or uncomfortable footwear. Luckily, there is an easy fix as well as easy preventative measures that can be followed to reduce the risk of bunions. I’d recommend investing in proper footwear as the first line of defense.

For more information on foot health, as well as other health and fitness tips, check out the rest of our site!

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