Bunions are a very commonplace sight for the ShoeMed team. Everyday, people come to us needing wider, more comfortable footwear to accommodate their bunions. Some bunions are painful, requiring even gentler care. Some live with bunions for years, simply ignoring them, which can be even more harmful. We're here to help you better understand bunions and what you need to do about them.
Bunions are known amongst the medical community as hallux valgus (NHS 2014: par. 1). Your big toe is the hallux, and 'valgus' refers to how the big toe joint points outside of the foot (Fortius Clinic 2017: par. 1). Bunions are a deformity of the big toe joint--specifically, the first metatarsal head (Harding 2016b: par. 1) This deformity pushes the big toe in towards the other toes as the metatarsal head pushes outward to form a bump. Some cases are so severe that they even cause the second toe to overlap the big toe (Fortius Clinic 2017: par. 5). As the joint moves outward, the joint will inevitably rub against the inside of your shoe, which can cause significant pain and inflammation, including a fluid sac (bursa) to form (Harding 2016a: par. 3).
There is often no clear or singular reason why bunions form (Fortius Clinic 2017: par. 3; NHS 2014: pars 6; Harding 2016b: par. 7). There's plenty of evidence to suggest that bunions are hereditary, as people who have bunions tend to inherit them from someone else in the family. However, the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) points out that it is not the bunion that is inherited, but the inherited faults in the structure of the foot that make one more prone to bunions (ACFAS 2017: par. 4).
Many say that ill-fitting footwear is a contributing factor, as bunions rarely occur in societies that don't wear shoes (NHS 2014: par. 20; BOFAS 2017: par. 3). Moreover, women are more prone to bunions than men, which also seems to suggest footwear, considering how high heels and other fashionable, narrow footwear often constrict the forefoot (Fortius Clinic 2017: par. 3; Wülker and Mittag 2012: par. 5). Yet it is also suggested that it’s not the ill-fitting footwear itself that causes the bunion (again, referring to predisposition due to faulty structure), but it can certainly aggravate and progress the symptoms (NHS 2014: par. 7; ACFAS 2017: par. 5). This is also taking into consideration that wearing tight-fitting footwear does not always mean bunions will form, and those who never wear such footwear can still develop bunions (Harding 2016b: par. 8).
Other factors that can contribute to the development of bunions include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout, as well as conditions such as multiple sclerosis, stroke and cerebral palsy (Harding 2016b: pars. 8-10).
If you think you have bunions, the first thing you can do is seek out a podiatrist to get an accurate assessment. If you're not sure which podiatrist to go to, call or come by ShoeMed, as we work closely with many podiatrists and foot health practitioners and can recommend one near you.
ShoeMed carries a broad range of wider-fitting, comfortable and stylish footwear to accommodate problems such as bunions. If your bunions are due to osteoarthritis, we can fit you in a pair a Finn Comfort’s Finnamic rocker sole shoes, as the firm rocker sole is ideal for those who suffer from osteoarthritis and wide enough to contain bunions. If it’s due to rheumatoid arthritis, we can recommend lighter shoes, such as Finn Comfort’s range of shoes with feather-light soles that are stiff enough to provide support, wide enough for bunions, but light enough not to weigh you down. We also have shoes that stretch to fit, such as DB’s Jill and Jason, which are superbly light and stretchy so they don’t rub against bunions or hammer toes.
There are surgical options for bunions as well. Usually, surgery won't be recommended unless you are in significant pain or discomfort with your bunions, and the time required for healing after surgery is significant (ACFAS 2017: par. 14). However, if you've had bunion surgery, ShoeMed can help find footwear to get you through any post-surgical swelling, as well as shoes to better care for and maintain your foot health after your feet have recovered. Whatever your needs are, we can find footwear to suit them. Come see to ShoeMed to receive excellent, personalised customer service, including being measured and fitted by our highly trained team for a pair of shoes that will improve your quality of life with more comfortable feet.
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