The Truth About Bunions
Bunions are characterized as a prominence on the big toe joint, also known as the first metatarsophalangeal joint.
They tend to show with hallux valgus, which is a term used to describe the big toe deviating towards the second toe.
They may not always result in pain around the joint and could vary in terms of mobility around the joint, where it could be stiff or still flexible.
What Causes Bunions?
The cause of bunions may be from natural biomechanics and from footwear.
All types of feet are equally susceptible to bunions, whether it is a high arch or a low arch.
High Arches: Pes Cavus
Due to the structure of the foot, a lot of pressure tends to build on the forefoot.
Low Arches: Pes Planus
Due to the alignment of the foot, there tends to be a lot of friction and shearing forces around the forefoot.
Most of us know that certain footwear is not the best for us.
Features such as a narrow and tapered toe box can contribute to bunion growth, and heeled footwear pushes all our body weight onto our toes and increases the pressure significantly.
Another thing to be aware of is the materials used to make the shoes, and the stitching of the uppers, as that can cause chafing on the bunions.
Causes For Concern
Even though it may be asymptomatic, it can result in other complications in the long run.
Stiffness can occur in the big toe joint which results in reduced range of motion. If the toe is unable to move to propel the body forward, the body has to use other parts to compensate and it ends up in overuse.
Bunions and hallux valgus position can cause hammer toes as the smaller toes do not have enough room and start to overlap. They can also cause neuromas, or impinge the nerves in the forefoot due to constricted space.
They can also make it incredibly difficult to fit into regular footwear; a wide toe box is needed. Often times activity-related footwear, such as skates or ski boots, can be a problem.
For more information on how to prevent bunion growth, drop by or call one of our Kintec locations to speak to a fellow staff member on what conservative treatment options are available.
Mei Poon, BHK, C. Ped (C)