Bunions

Bunions usually develop because of fallen arches. As your weight pushes down through the inside aspect of your foot, it forces your toes, especially your big toe to point out more to the side than straight ahead.

Huge Load

Multiply this by time and hundreds of millions of steps and the joints become strained, inflamed and deformed. Too much weight goes through the joint at the base of your big toe, the 1st metatarso-phalangeal joint (MTPJ). Eventually it starts to hurt and swell. This is a bunion.

Raise your Arches

The solution is to raise your arches and get your toes flattened out and pointing forward again. You can see the effect by just raising your arches a few times now. As you raise your arch, your lower leg twists out and your ankle moves out a bit further.

Falling in

If your arch does drop as you step, your ankle, indeed your whole foot, moves (or collapses) towards the midline. That is, your right foot and ankle moves to the left, and your left foot and ankle move to the right as your weight moves over the top of them as you walk.

It may only be a slight movement but if you pay attention, it is noticeable. For some people it is really obvious.

High Heels

High heels are the biggest preventable cause of bunions we have. Ironic isn’t it, you wear high heels to look glamorous and sexy and way down the track you end up with twisted, bumpy, painful feet and gnarly, crumpled, overlapping toes? See high heels for some pointers on how to reduce or eliminate these unglamorous side effects.

Support

Probably the best thing you can do to deal with bunions is get shoes with really good arch support, or better still, get a packet of good quality, high density foam arch supports that you can move from shoe to shoe.Don’t wait until big or painful bunions form. Early intervention can give you long term relief.

Walk Mindfully

Be mindful about how your feet do their job as you walk and consciously hold your arches up, just a little, each time you roll your weight onto them. Concentrate on rolling your weight up the outer third of the sole of your foot with each step. Do it every time you think about it and you can eventually retrain yourself to automatically walk more efficiently. You’ll know you’re starting to do it right when your shin muscles start to get a little sore because they are the muscles that hold your arches up. Don’t worry, this soreness only lasts until the muscles get used to working this way.

Topical

Using an anti inflammatory cream or gel can reduce the pain of bunions, but of course will not address the cause of the problem.

Surgery

If the bunions are well advanced and conservative treatment doesn’t work, you do have the option of surgical repair. This involves removing excess bone and sometimes wire is implanted to straighten the toes.

It’s a radical option but if the problem is bad enough it is the only thing that will help.

What else

If just stretching your calves a lot or off the shelf orthotics  don’t substantially reduce or fix your problem, seek out an osteopath or other suitably qualified professional, like a podiatrist. An osteopath will assess and treat you for mechanical problems in your feet, ankles, knees, hips, pelvis and spine that may be causing or contributing to your problem. A podiatrist will custom make a pair of orthotics.