Bunions can be painful and frustrating. The condition is caused when the joint at the base of the big toe (the metatarsophalangeal joint) becomes unstable and moves out of place. The toe shifts inward and the foot’s first metatarsal bone shifts outward, creating a misalignment. Because most shoes don’t accommodate this irregularity and create pressure, the joint can become inflamed and painful. Luckily, you can stop bunions in their tracks if you follow some basic tips. Scroll down to learn how to prevent bunions.
How to Prevent Bunions
If you want to learn how to prevent bunions, you will need to focus on your footwear. Your choice of shoe can have a dramatic impact on your bunions, so you will need to take your time when shopping and perhaps even ask your primary care doctor or a podiatrist for help. Here’s what you should be looking for:
- Wide, Roomy Shoes. If your shoes put pressure on your big toe and the surrounding area, the inflammation and pain will increase. So as you shop, look for wide and roomy shoes. Comfort is key, so be sure that your shoes don’t cramp, squeeze, or irritate your toes.
- Deep Toe Boxes. The toe box is the area of the shoe that surrounds the toes. Choose shoes that have deep toe boxes to prevent unnecessary pressure on your big toe. Avoid pointy toe shoes, and be sure that there is space between the tip of your big toe and the end of the shoe.
- Low or Flat Heels. Women tend to have more bunions than men due to the fact that they’re more likely to wear pointy shoes and high heels. The solution is simple: buy shoes with flat or low heels instead.
- Good Arch Support. Excessive pronation (walking or running with your weight on the inside edge of your feet) has been shown to increase the formation of bunions. To prevent this, you should wear shoes with great arch support. Avoid ballet flats and slip-ons. Look for shoes with laces or velcro straps across the instep, which will prevent your feet from sliding inward.
- Use Custom Orthotic Shoe Inserts. Sometimes purchasing shoes with supportive arches isn’t enough. If you’re still having trouble with bunions, your doctor may suggest that you have custom orthotic shoe inserts made just for you. Custom orthotics will provide your feet with great support and prevent painful bunions.
- Purchase a Bunion Splint. A well-designed bunion splint or brace will prevent the progression of a bunion. The splint should cover your big toe and then extend across the foot, placing corrective force on the big toe and gently stretching the tendon and muscles. It may also provide arch support.
If you want to prevent bunions, you are most likely to find success through your choice of shoe. However, you might also try to avoid activities that place a lot of pressure on your foot and your big toe in particular. Although we certainly don’t recommend avoiding exercise, consider exploring activities that place less pressure on your feet, such as swimming or bicycling.
Above all, we suggest that you talk to your doctor to receive personalized and professional advice. Good luck!
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