How To Protect Your Feet Against Bunions And Improve Foot Health

Bunions are bony and painful bumps that stick out from the joint connecting your foot to your big toe. While the exact cause of bunions is unknown, many foot surgeons and other healthcare professionals feel they may be caused due to genetics, arthritis, poor or weak foot structure, or different leg sizes. All or one of these causes can shift your body weight and put pressure on the joint, pushing the bone outward.

You are at an increased risk of bunions if:

  • Your other family members have them as well
  • Your foot is not properly aligned, making it difficult for the inside arch to support most of your weight.
  • You have flat feet
  • You have an inflammatory condition like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • You spend a lot of time on your feet.

How to Prevent Bunions?

While bunions are most common among adults, you can get them anytime, especially if they run in your family. But there are ways to protect your feet from them.

Wear the Right Shoes

Wearing proper shoes is important for preventing bunions. Wrongly fitted shoes will create uneven pressure and rub your toes, increasing the chances of bunions. Look for the following factors when choosing shoes:

Comfort: You should not feel rubbing or pinching the first time you put your feet in any shoe. Struggling to slide your feet into the shoes puts pressure on your feet and can lead to bunions.

Size and fit: Ensure your shoes are the correct fit and length for your feet. Avoid tight, pointy, and narrow shoes. In addition, pick shoes with broad toe boxes and soft soles to prevent your toes from rubbing together and for support and cushioning.

Support: Ensure your shoes have good arch support. It helps distribute pressure equally across the foot instead of just your heels.

Avoid Wearing High Heels Everyday

High heels can put a lot of pressure on your toes. Whenever possible, wear flats instead of heels. Try to keep the heel size under two inches, or pick block heels or wedges to reduce pressure if you need to wear them.

Give Your Feet Ample Rest

Our feet work a lot during the day. Hence, they deserve to rest, like any other part of our body. Try to put your feet up and give them rest if you have been standing or walking for a long time. This will help release some pressure and tension. Also, remove your shoes frequently during the day to give them room to breathe.

Exercise to Improve Foot Strength

Like any other part of your body, you can strengthen your feet and make them flexible with exercises. These exercises help you maintain healthy feet, reduce ankle and foot pain, relieve soreness, and prevent bunions. Common bunion-preventing exercises include:

Pickups: Place around ten or twenty items on the floor. Sit on a chair, pick each item with your toes, and put them in a box.

Curls: Place a towel on the ground. Sit down or on a chair with the towel close by. Pull the towel close to you by curling your toes around it. Repeat this activity for five minutes.

Stretches: Lift your feet off the floor. Point your toes as far as they can, then curl them as much as possible and hold them for five seconds. Repeat this activity for each foot at least ten times.

Rolling: Place a small ball under your foot and sit on a chair. Use your foot to push it down and roll it across the length of each foot for 2-3 minutes.

Monitor Feet Regularly for Any Changes

Bunions take time to show up. Watch out for early signs in your feet, like redness, pain, and swelling in your big toe joint. If the bunion is advanced, you will notice a bump on the side of your big toe.

How to Manage Bunions?

Despite taking precautions, you may sometimes get bunions. You can do the following to reduce the soreness and pain:

  • Change your footwear to give your toes adequate room
  • Use shoe padding to reduce friction and relieve inflammation
  • Use a nighttime splint for joint realignment
  • Get a cortisone injection to reduce inflammation
  • Use customized orthotics to reposition your foot and stabilize the joint
  • Do specific exercises to improve flexibility and mobility

While the steps above may help you manage the pain and discomfort caused by bunions, a bunionectomy can help remove the bunion and realign your toe. Premier Foot & Ankle Care is an experienced podiatrist who offers bunion surgery and can help you manage your bunion in its early stages.