Bunions: tips for prevention and foot care

Bunions affect our quality of life and directly influence our mobility. That’s why we decided to talk about prevention and foot care, to minimize or prevent the discomfort they may cause in the future.

Feet are the object of many universal expressions, with various meanings, such as “feet on the ground”, synonymous with a structured and cautious person. But if we go to the merely physical plan, we will be surprised to know that the foot is one of the most complex structures of our body and fundamental in our anatomy so that we could evolve towards human bipedal locomotion.

To understand this anatomical complexity, think that the feet and ankles combined have 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. It seems almost impossible that all this fits in such a small part of our body!

According to the Cleveland Clinic , throughout our lives, we can walk the equivalent of four round-the-world trips. That is to say, it is a part of our body that suffers a lot of wear and tear and, therefore, very prone to injuries. There are studies that predict that 3/4 of people will, at some point in their lives, have discomfort in their feet or ankles.

There is no doubt that the health of our feet can be determinant for our quality of life and a simple bunion can affect it immensely. Perhaps we have never heard the term hallux valgus, but surely the word “bunions” sounds to us if we have heard it from our parents and grandparents.

Or maybe you have bunions yourself and know how uncomfortable they are! But we must talk about bunions, because they directly influence our stability and ability to balance when walking. Especially in the elderly, bunions can cause imbalance and increase the risk of falling.

From the research we have conducted at Stannah, foot discomfort is one of the factors that can cause mobility problems and lead to a more sedentary lifestyle. Although bunions have a higher incidence in women, they also affect a large number of men.

So both can see their quality of life, routine and physical activity greatly affected. To better understand this condition, it is important that we understand what a bunion is first, what causes it, and what we can do to minimize its impact on our quality of life and mobility.

Therefore, we invite you to join us on this tour, to understand the importance of foot care, with the indication that, if you think your feet show the first signs of having bunions, consult your doctor for professional advice and advice, and avoid any type of remedy that has not been advised by the podiatrist or physiotherapist.

Foot disorders: all about bunions!

Foot disorders are a serious health problem because they cause discomfort, pain, lower quality of life and directly influence the ability to balance – which means a high risk of falling. That’s why we believe it should be taken very seriously!

What is a bunion? Symptoms, causes and prevention

A bunion is a deformity of the foot, in which the big toe begins to deviate toward the other toe, creating a lump on the outside of the foot, right in the joint of the big toe. However, there are different types of bunions:

  • The most common type of bunion is the one that comes out on the big toe, especially in adulthood, whose medical name is Hallux Valgus (which means, in Latin, “deviated big toe”).
  • We also have the “tailor’s bunion”, when the protuberance occurs in the little finger.
  • Bunions that come out in adolescence, more common in girls between the ages of 10 and 15, are usually inherited.

In order to better understand the feeling of having a bunion – for those of us lucky enough not to suffer with this condition – having a bunion is like having a tight foot in a narrow-toed shoe, every day, at all times.

The big toe compresses and overlaps the next toe, causing a deformity of the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP) – that is, the joint at the base of the big toe – which manifests itself in the formation of a bump, as we can see in the image. Wearing very tight shoes, in spite of being very prejudicial and accelerating the development of bunions, is not the only cause of the problem.

What causes a bunion?

In the image above we see a vulgar bunion (or hallux valgus) and a tailor’s bunion. There are several factors that can cause bunions, and although the exact cause is not well known, we list some of the most likely:

  • Genetic factor
  • Injury to the feet
  • Severe and repeated stress on the feet
  • Suffering from an inflammatory or neuromuscular condition

When we talk about genetic factors, it doesn’t mean that having bunions is something that, irremediably, we pass through genes to our offspring. What is hereditary is what causes the bunion, that is, the susceptibility of the foot to develop a bunion.

For example, having flat feet, having tendon or joint problems in the feet, if these are situations that can be hereditary and, consequently, increase the risk of developing bunions as we get older. But there is always something we can do to prevent or delay the evolution of this condition. We’ll explain everything below.