Everything You Wanted to Know about Bunions But Were Afraid to Ask
Most everyone recognizes a bunion—it’s hard to ignore that telltale bump at the base of the big toe! But many people don’t know much more about bunions than how to identify one. It’s estimated that 1 in 3 Americans have bunions. Below are some FAQs about this very common condition.
Q: What exactly is a bunion?
A: The bony enlargement at the base of the toe is actually the visible sign of changes that occur in the bony framework of the foot. These changes cause one toe (typically the big toe) to start to drift inward towards the second toe. As this movement progresses it produces the characteristic bump on the side of the toe.
Q: Are there more than one kind of bunion?
A: Yes. Although by far the most frequent is the one that forms at the base of the big toe, bunions can also form on the outside of the base of the little or pinky toe. These are called Tailor’s bunions or bunionette.
Q: Who gets bunions?
A: Women are by far the biggest bunion sufferers but men get bunions too. Often made fun of as an “old lady” condition, bunions can occur in tweens and teens too. In some cases, babies are even born with bunions. The largest bunion demographic, however, is women over the age of 45.
Q: What causes bunions?
A: The biomechanical defect in foot structure that results in a bunion forming is very often genetic. So if Mom or Dad had bunions it’s more likely you’ll get them—not because the bunions themselves are passed on but rather the faulty foot structure that leads to the tendency for bunions. However, a close second in causing the bunion to actively develop is your choice of footwear. Women who spend long periods on their feet in high heels and shoes with narrow, pointy-toe boxes are far more likely to develop bunions. These styles exert extra pressure on the front of the foot by forcing it forward. Narrow toe boxes squeeze toes together making it more likely they’ll begin to move out of place. Poor shoe choices can speed up the progression of bunions and greatly increase your pain and discomfort.
Other disorders that can be a factor in increasing your risk of developing a bunion include:
Q: It looks like my bunion is getting bigger—is that possible?
A: It’s not only possible but likely. Bunions are a progressive condition. This means they will only get worse over time, not better. That’s why prompt medical evaluation and treatment including some of the products recommended below are so important. Bunions progress at varying speeds. The sooner you start managing one the better.
Q: When should I see a podiatrist about a suspected bunion?
A: It’s best to get a bunion evaluated by the podiatrist as soon as you notice one forming. Too often people make the mistake of not seeking treatment until the bunion is really bothering them. Uncomfortable symptoms from a bunion can include pain, numbness, and burning at the site of the bunion, especially when wearing shoes. In some cases decreased range of motion and numbness may occur. When a bunion is diagnosed in its earliest stages the foot doctor can devise a treatment plan aimed at slowing the progression of the bunion and relieving any discomfort.
Q: How does a podiatrist diagnose a bunion?
A: Most of the time the visible bony enlargement at the base of your toe will be the key indicator of a bunion. However, your podiatrist will definitely want to get your medical and family history to track down possible causes. He or she may also want to take an x-ray of your foot to assess the severity of the bunion. This imaging study can serve as a baseline to track the course of the bunion in the future and evaluate changes.
Q: What complications can be caused by or accompany a bunion?
A: When left untreated the bunion will eventually grow so large and move so far out of place that wearing any footwear will be painful and actually limit your mobility. Sometimes people with bunions resort to only wearing flip-flops but while these may feel comfortable with your bunion they are bad for your feet and will ultimately cause your bunion (and other foot conditions) to get worse. Bunions can also lead to secondary conditions such as:
Sometimes an open wound may even form due to the pressure and friction between your feet and your shoes. This is particularly problematic if you have diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, or any other condition that causes poor circulation as the wounds may be difficult to heal and can lead to dangerous infections.
Treatment Options for Bunions
Fortunately, there are many ways to treat a bunion. Most treatment plans will focus on relieving pain and discomfort and slowing the progression of the bunion. This may include shoe changes, custom orthotics, physical therapy, and exercise. The only way to remove or eliminate a bunion completely is through surgery but most people are looking for ways to avoid or put off this option as long as possible.
Pedifix offers several solutions for people who would like treatment for their bunion without surgery:
Pedifix Bunion SoftSplint—this splint works on your feet while you rest or sleep. It stretches and strengthens tight ligaments and tendons while also helping your toe maintain its proper alignment. People who use the Bunion SoftSplint also find it provides soothing relief from bunion pain.
PediFix Nighttime Bunion Regulator—gently stretching tendons and muscles, the Nighttime Bunion Regulator helps to slow the progression of a bunion deformity while guiding the big toe to its proper position. This also results in relief from bunion pain. Foot specialists recommend this product for use while sleeping or at rest only—note: do not try to walk while wearing the Nighttime Bunion Regulator.
Visco-Gel Dual-Action Bunion Fix—this hard-working product helps with bunions in several ways: Soft Gel Spacer separates and works to align crooked and overlapping toes and keeps them from rubbing together, providing comfort and preventing blisters and corns. Attached Bunion Guard cushions sore bunion joints and protects them from shoe pressure and friction. Soothing gel offers comfort and relief from pain and also contains mineral oil which softens skin and keeps it supple.
The Visco-Gel Dual-Action Bunion Fix is also available in a customizable version—see the Visco-Gel Customizable Dual-Action Bunion Fix for more details. Both of these products are washable and reusable. They are very durable and effective.
PediFix Visco-Gel ToeBuddy Bunion Guard—a versatile option whose thin design fits in most footwear and actually makes wearing shoes more comfortable. The two-loop design keeps the soft gel spacer in the perfect position to separate and align the first and second toes. The soft gel absorbs pressure and protects against friction, all the while softening and moisturizing the skin on your toes and foot. The Visco-Gel ToeBuddy Bunion Guard can be used on either foot and it’s washable and reusable for months of relief.
PediFix Visco-Gel Bunion Relief Sleeve—your bunion will say “Ahhhhhh….” once you slip on this Soft’N Stretch fabric sleeve containing our Visco-Gel which can be perfectly positioned to pad and protect your bunion without the use of any adhesives. The sleeve can be used on either foot and absorbs pressure while protecting feet from the friction caused by rubbing up against footwear. The eighth of an inch thickness of the pad is best accommodated by spacious shoes. PediFix Visco-Gel Bunion Relief Sleeve comes in two sizes: Small—fits shoe sizes 6-9 with average width feet and Large—fits shoe sizes 9+ and accommodates wide feet.
PediFix Visco-Gel Bunion Guard—is made of soft gel that’s so thin you’ll hardly know it’s there—except for the incredible comfort and relief it gives your bunion. Slim enough to fit into practically any shoe you’ll find it makes your footwear so much easier to wear. A soft and stretchy toe loop holds the bunion guard in place—no adhesives necessary! It cushions and protects your bunion while releasing soothing mineral oil and vitamin E to soften the skin. The Visco-Gel Bunion Relief Sleeve is interchangeable for the left or right foot and is washable and reusable providing months of relief.
What’s better than the relief and comfort you’ll get from all of these bunion aids? Being able to get them at 10% off! For a limited time, PediFix is offering a 10% discount sitewide that can be used for these bunion helpers or any other products offered on their website. Act today to get the products your feet need to look and feel their very best.
If you have questions about how our products can support you, please call 1-800- PEDIFIX (733-4349) to learn more. Our product specialists are ready to support your needs! You can also visit our website for more expert guidance and top products that will support numerous foot and ankle conditions.