Why Am I Developing Bunions?

Why Am I Developing Bunions?

Bunions develop at the base of the big toe and appear as a bony bump jutting out toward the other foot. As accustomed as you may be to seeing bunions on one or both of your feet, you might not realize how they formed in the first place.

Your bunions may or may not cause any pain at first, but they tend to get worse over time. They cause the corresponding big toe to point toward the other toes and often cause corns or calluses to develop in the area. 

Here at Lake Erie Podiatry in Erie, Pennsylvania, trusted podiatrist Michael Ruiz, DPM, helps you explore the reasons why you may have developed bunions in the first place and which habits or medical conditions are making them more painful or prominent over time. Here’s why you’re developing bunions along with a few tips for managing the bony overgrowths.

Genetics is at the core

Genetics dictate a lot about you, including what you look like and your disease risk factors. Unsurprisingly, they can also contribute to bunions. Your genetic makeup determines the shapes and sizes of your feet. Certain foot structures are more likely to develop bunions than others. If you look at your parents’ or grandparents’ feet and see bunions, you may be more likely to get them yourself. 

While you can’t change your genetics, you can take steps toward being as gentle on your feet as possible to stop bunions from growing or becoming increasingly painful. 

Injuries put your toes at risk 

Also called turf toe, hyperextension of a toe is just one of several injuries that places extra pressure on a bunion and can increase your pain and inflammation. 

All-around joint inflammation exacerbates bunions

Conditions that cause inflammation in the joints such as rheumatoid arthritis can impact the joint at the base of the big toe just as much as any other joint in the body. This means more pain and prominence from a bunion that may or may not have been there before you developed arthritis. 

Ill-fitting footwear increases the pain

Ask any podiatrist why you’re experiencing pain or deformity of a foot and they’ll probably ask you which kinds of shoes you tend to wear frequently. They also ask about the fit of your shoes, including if you’re buying the correct sizes and whether or not those shoes are made to accommodate wide soles. 

Narrow or uncomfortable shoes may not cause bunions directly, but they can make the pain worse and contribute to inflammation around the bunion. Narrow shoes or footwear with pointed toes force your toes together and place pressure on the joint at the base of the big toe. A podiatrist can help you select supportive shoes that give your bunions plenty of space to breathe. 

Interested in exploring treatment?

You can manage bunions as well as complications like corns or calluses with relatively simple noninvasive home care. While extra padding or space in your shoes can ease pressure on a bunion, it won’t rid you of the growth entirely. To discuss management strategies or find out about bunion surgery, schedule an appointment over the phone or online at Lake Erie Podiatry right away. 

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