Ever wondered what that lump is on the side of Grandma’s big toe? Worried that it might happen to you? Well the cause of bunions is still somewhat undecided but read ahead for more information on the topic!
The term bunion refers to a lump on the side of the foot that occurs when the toe starts to deviate away from the midline and move across towards the second toe. As a result of this the soft tissues become inflamed and the first joint of the big toe becomes displaced. The medical term for this deformity is known as hallux valgus.
Bunions can sometimes be asymptomatic. The worst symptom of the bunion apart from swelling and redness is the discomfort they cause when wearing shoes. Arthritis often develops eventually in the big toe joint and people with bunions can also experience pain with walking.
So what causes a bunion? Well there is still some debate in the literature but they are believed to be largely genetic. They are more common in women than in men and also more common in people who wear shoes as opposed to barefoot people.
So if you’ve seen your mother’s feet and are still despairing after reading this article, don’t lose hope yet! It is possible to delay the inevitable.
Unfortunately, just as your mother told you – tight-fitting shoes will speed up the process, particularly those pointy-toed shoes. Shoes that are too tight can encourage the toe to move inwards and cause friction in the area where bunions develop. People who develop bunions also tend to suffer from weakness in the muscles that support the arch of the foot and stiffness in some of the joints of the foot. In this case physiotherapy can be beneficial to improve the mechanics around the foot, and strengthen the muscles that support the arch.
At the end of the day if you have a genetic predisposition to bunions, it is likely that you may develop one, but it is possible to delay the inevitable with the right choice in footwear and by improving the mechanics of your foot.
For more information on this subject please contact one of our physiotherapists today!