If you want to know how to prevent bunions, you just need to follow these easy 7 tips:
- Wear suitable footwear
- Make sure your shoes are comforatable
- Take some time off of high heels
- Try on shoes in the afternoon
- Think about orthotics
- Give your feet some TLC
It is as easy as that, please continue reading if you want us to expand on any of these seven tips.
Over 64 million people across the United States suffer from bunions, and as they develop so gradually, there are likely millions more out there with them that don’t even realize.
On occasion, they can be completely painless, but most of the time, the inflammation caused by bunions can be downright debilitating, preventing people from walking, or in severe instances, preventing them from even standing up or putting on shoes.
Although there are ways to reduce the swelling and pain they bring, once bunions form, it’s impossible to completely get rid of them without going under the knife, which is why I feel that talking about bunion preventatives is so important.
Unfortunately, bunions are widely seen as an ailment of the elderly, so younger people disregard, or simply aren’t given, information about the condition.
And while bunions are more prevalent in older generations, the root of the issue can almost always be traced back to habits formed in their youth.
So, to save the lucky ones out there without bunions from ever having to experience them, I’ve compiled 7 essential tips on how they can be prevented, but first, let’s briefly discuss what they are and where they come from.
What Exactly Are Bunions, and What Causes Them?
Have you ever bumped your head really hard, causing a large lump to form around the impact zone? Well, that’s kind of what bunions look like.
They’re unsightly bony protrusions that can occur on both sides of the foot at the base of the big and little toes. They often appear red and sore and can cause a great deal of pain when weight is put on the problem foot.
As I’ve already mentioned, bunions are not always that painful, but whether they hurt or not, they can still make the sufferer feel self-conscious about the way they look, and lower self-esteem.
We know what increases the chances of developing bunions in later life, which is what I’m going to be talking about today, but the fundamental cause is still something of a mystery to podiatrists.
There’s a good chance that bunions might occur as a result of a number of different factors, including genetics, weak foot structure, arthritis, leg length discrepancy (one leg longer than the other), or even overpronation, the involuntary act of rolling your foot inward as you walk, placing excess pressure on lateral bones.
You may also be more at risk of developing bunions if you have fallen arches (flat feet) or if you work a job that requires you to be on your feet for long periods of time with no rest.
The procedure to combat bunions is known as a Bunionectomy. It involves making an incision along the top or side of the toe in order to cut and remove soft tissue and bone from the area.
The surgeon will then do their best to realign the ligaments, tendons, and remaining bone before the incision is sutured.
In some severe cases, typically involving arthritis, the joint with the bunion is so damaged that the best course of action is to fuse the bones to each other to ensure they don’t move and cause the sufferer pain.
7 Tips to Prevent the Formation of Bunions
The following tips aren’t a dead-cert way to ensure you never develop these painful lumps on the side of your feet, but they can significantly reduce the chances of it happening, so I recommend applying as many of them to your daily routine as possible.
- Wear Suitable Footwear
Wearing proper footwear is without a doubt the best thing you can do to stave off the development of bunions. The problem is, not many people are aware of what constitutes “suitable footwear”.
Not to worry, though, folks; I’ve done the research and collated a few pointers. Suitable footwear should be…
- A little loose – Constricting your feet is terrible for your foot health and will accelerate the formation of bunions. You don’t need anything too loose, as that will cause more problems than it will solve, but a little wiggle room is ideal.
- Have a wide toebox – Our feet expand and contract depending on our activities, the time of day, and the weather. As the most mobile parts of our feet, toes in particular need room to breathe.
- Offer decent arch support – Instability in the arches of our feet is known to put pressure on the peripheral muscles and bones in our toes, so a shoe that provides oodles of arch support is a no-brainer.
- Have heels that measure less than 2 inches – This one’s all about gravity. The higher your heel is off the ground, the more pressure is placed on your lower foot and toes.
- Be laced rather than slip-ons – Laces prevent excess forward motion as your walk, which can put unnecessary pressure on the toes.
- Make Sure Shoes Are Comfortable From the Get-Go
Granted, shoes will always be more comfortable after we’ve worn them for a while and broken them in, but if we really want to avoid bunions in the future, we should be looking for shoes that feel as comfortable as possible when we first purchase them.
The key is finding the right size. Never settle for something that almost feels right, but doesn’t. Prioritize brands that offer half sizes, or better yet, if you can afford it, why not have your shoes custom-made?
- Give Yourself a Break From High Heels
As I mentioned earlier, any heels over 2 inches can exacerbate bunions, so it’s important to take a break from the tall life as much as possible.
It’s not that you have to throw your favorite heels in the trash; you can still enjoy them every now and again, but they’re best kept for special occasions.
If you miss the height gains that heels can bring, you can wear platforms, blocky heels, and wedges without causing your feet too much stress, as they distribute your weight more evenly.
I know it’s not exactly the same as a stiletto heel, but besides a nice pair of stilts, a pair of these alternatives is the only way to add the inches in a relatively safe manner.
- Do Your Shopping in the Late Afternoon
This one sounds a little nuts, but hear me out. Remember when I mentioned that our feet expand and contract? Well, they continue expanding throughout the day, which means they’re at their largest in the afternoons and evenings.
If you want to find the perfect fit, it’s your afternoon foot size you should be trying to accommodate.
- Invest in Some Orthotic Inserts
If you’re aware that you have fallen arches or poor foot alignment, you can take precautions to reduce the possibilities of future bunions by ordering some prescription orthotic inserts for your shoes.
These inserts offer tailor-made support for the weak areas and aspects of your feet. They offer tons of arch support, help to spread the weight of your step evenly along your foot, and encourage proper alignment.
If need be, you can combine them with splints that help to keep your big toe on the straight and narrow without preventing you from being able to walk.
You should also assess your slipper situation. Unfortunately, just because we’re chilling in the house, doesn’t make us momentarily immune to the threat of bunions.
The good news is that there are products out there that can help, like these orthotic slippers with arch supports.
- Get Plenty of Exercise and Stay in Good Shape
Although exercise puts a lot of pressure on our feet, it can help us stay trim and keep our weight down, thereby reducing the pressure exerted on our feet in our day-to-day lives.
Every step we take is a burden on our plates of meat down there, so anything we can do to take the load off can do a world of good.
- Pay Attention to Your Feet and Treat Them to Some TLC
It’s time we start listening to our feet, folks. If your dogs are barking after a long day at work, treat them to a soak in warm water and Epsom salt.
We should also be massaging our feet whenever we get the chance. They work harder than pretty much any other part of our body, so lord knows they’ve earned it.
They also appreciate a good moisturizing session from time to time. It helps to alleviate dry skin and cracks, reducing the chance of a bunion flare-up.
Most importantly of all, don’t forget to simply let them rest after they’ve had a tough time of it. It’s the perfect excuse to kick back, put them up, and enjoy some well-earned self-care.
Okay, people…bunion rant over. You get the point: taking care of our feet is important.
I know it’s difficult to adhere to these guidelines 24/7, but as long as we’re making a conscious effort to cut down on things that put unnecessary strain on our feet, the risk of developing bunions decreases exponentially.