Bunions are bony lumps that develop on the inside of the foot next to the big toe. When aggravated this can cause a bursa, which is a sac of fluid that becomes inflamed, red and sore.
Bunions occur when the big toe is forced into a position contrary to its normal alignment. This can occur through continuous standing and walking which weakens the anterior metatarsal arch, causing the foot to become flattened and the big toe joint to project inwards. Pressure is then placed upon the projecting joint by the shoe, which creates a bursa (hollow pocket lined with fluid) that becomes inflamed when aggravated. This lump on the inner foot can become red, swollen and painful if left untreated.
Bunions are common in professions that involve continuous standing and walking, e.g. Police, Postal Workers, Hairdressers, Waiters. Women tend to be more prone to bunions due to their choice of shoes which are often high heeled, narrow and unsupportive.
Prevention & Treatment of Bunions:
Wearing non-constrictive footwear can prevent bunions. Avoid shoes that are ill fitted, have high heels or pinch. Invest in shoes that are supportive, have a wide fitting toe, low heel and good quality insoles.
In addition to following the advice above regarding sensible footwear, bunions can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications. Cold compresses, massage and foot soaking are all methods in which you can relieve painful bunions. Good palliative measures consist of reusable gel pads, adhesive padding and orthotics that reduce pressure to the problem area. Depending on the severity of the problem, surgery may be necessary, although cortisone injections and orthotics are a useful starting point. (see Podiatrist/Chiropodist or GP)
Make an appointment with a Podiatrist/Chiropodist if you are concerned about bunions. We highly recommend this if you have diabetes, arthritis, neuropathy (loss of feeling in the foot), or vascular insufficiency.
- Supportive shoes with wide toe, low heel and good insoles.
- Use anti-inflammatory medicine to manage pain.
- Visit a Podiatrist for advice and treatment.