Did you know that bunions on feet are the most common problem affecting the front of the foot in adults? You’re more likely to develop a bunion as you get older, and they’re much more common in women than men.
We have created this guide so that you know what to look out for, how to treat bunions and when you should go and see a podiatrist.
What is a bunion?
A bunion (also called a hallux valgus) is a bony lump on the side of your foot. It’s caused when your big toe leans towards your other toes. The bone then gets pushed out to the side and sticks out, which can rub against your shoes and become sore, especially when you’re walking. Smaller bunions (bunionettes) can also develop on the joint of your little toe.
Some people don’t get any symptoms from bunions, but if you do, you may notice:
- Pain in the joints of your toes, especially when you’re walking
- A red or swollen big toe
- Pain in your foot – for example, under the ball of your foot
Your bunion may get bigger and cause more pain over time. If you get pain under the ball of your foot, this may mean you find it harder to walk. A bunion may affect your balance too, which means you may be more likely to fall over, and you may also find it hard to find comfortable shoes. This is why it is important to treat your bunions.
What causes bunions?
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes bunions, but some things can make you more likely to have one:
- Being ‘flat-footed’ or your foot rolling inwards when you walk
- Bunions can run in families (just because your parents or grandparents have bunions doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get them too!)
- You may be more likely to get a bunion if you have a long-term condition that affects your joints, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout
- Anything that affects how you walk, such as foot injury, stroke or multiple sclerosis, can make you more likely to have a bunion
- Wearing tight, narrow shoes
- Being female – bunions are more common in women because women’s shoes often require the foot to contort to an unnatural position
How to treat a bunion
You can go to the podiatrist to get a diagnosis and treatment if it is too painful, but you can also treat bunions at home. Nonsurgical treatments that may relieve the pain and pressure of a bunion include:
1. Changing shoes
Wear roomy, comfortable shoes that provide plenty of space for your toes. These can be canvas shoes or adjustable shoes with laces or a strap that you can loosen to accommodate changes in the size of your feet.
Bunion pads or cushions may be helpful. They can act as a buffer between your foot and your shoe and ease your pain. You can also separate the big toe and the next one with padding.
Our cushioned plasters feature an ultra-thick cushioning pad and are perfect for bunions. They are also hypoallergenic, making them perfect for sensitive skin.
We also have podiatry/ chiropody felt that can also bring you relief and comfort from bunions. It is easily adaptable and can be cut to any shape or size to help cushion the bunion on your foot. Its hypoallergenic self-adhesive backing allows it to stick safely onto your feet.
3. Shoe inserts
Padded shoe inserts can help distribute pressure evenly when you move your feet, reducing your symptoms and preventing your bunion from getting worse.
4. Applying ice
Icing your bunion after you’ve been on your feet for too long or if it becomes inflamed can help relieve soreness and swelling. Our Sterofreeze instant ice packs are ideal for cold therapy for bunions. They are safe and effective ice packs that cool quicker and remain cooler for longer.
Taping can support the joint at the base of your big toe and provides a rigid structure to your joints when applied correctly.
Our kinesiology tape can help correct the misaligned joint to provide bunion pain relief, as well as increase blood flow to the areas for increased anti-inflammatory effect and pain relief.
When to see a podiatrist
Although bunions often require no medical treatment, they can sometimes get worse and become too painful. You should see a podiatrist if you have:
- Ongoing big toe or foot pain
- A visible bump on your big toe joint
- Decreased movement of your big toe or foot
- Difficulty finding shoes that fit properly because of a bunion
If you need help finding a podiatrist you can find a local podiatrist and chiropodists using the NHS search feature.
Experiencing foot pain?
Most people suffer from foot problems throughout their life, with common foot problems including plantar fasciitis. For more information on plantar fasciitis check out our blog 'How to treat plantar fasciitis with home remedies & taping techniques'. If you are experiencing general foot problems, check out our blog 'Foot problems? Home treatments & when to see a podiatrist'
For more podiatry essentials, visit our page dedicated to podiatry and chiropody products, including PPE, clinic essentials, tapes & strapping and bandages & dressings
For more information on how our products can help you treat bunions, get in touch:
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