Bunions are a painful foot deformity commonly found in women. Along with the pain is an unsightly bulge at the base of the big toe. This diagnosis is tolerated to a point before it begins to interfere with a woman’s life. Then it has to be surgically rectified.
Commonly called “bunions”, the deformity is actually “hallux valgys”, referring to the abnormal angle formed by the metatarsal-phalange joint (base of the largest toe). The abnormal angle of the big toe forces it into the second toe. This painful stress on the big toe causes inflammation, redness and lasting joint pain. Women have a 50% chance of developing a bunion due to physical differences and life styles choices.
Women’s shoes are often high heeled with small toe boxes. These shapes directly contribute to bunions. Men forgo such impractical shoes for comfort. Some men can get bunions due to their hereditary nature. For women the squeezing stress of a small toe box pushes the toes into an unnatural position. On top of that, the high heels put more undo pressure on the toes. All of this pressure pushes the joint of the big toe and the smallest toe towards the center of the foot. When a bunion forms on the smallest toe, it is called a bunionette. Women who want to avoid bunions need to wear shoes that are more sensible. Granted, buying shoes that are more sensible is not always an option. It is important to search for shoes brands that offer a wider toe box without sacrificing modern style.
Switching shoes will also help with the second issue that contributes to bunions. The hips are an essential part of any human body. The angle and strength of the hips directly affects the health of the feet. A broad pelvis causes a knock-kneed appearance. Stress on the toes due to wide hips is directly put on the large toe during walking and prolonged standing. The knees are leaning inward and so are the feet. Bunions are only a small issue that will occur from broad set hips. Wide set hips are not only something a woman is born with. When excess fat sits on the hips and thighs, it forces the angle of the hips to be wider. Strengthening and toning the underlying muscles will take the stress of the hips, knees and feet. The gluteus maximus and the gluteus medius are the major muscles that need to be strengthened.
Always consult a doctor or physical therapist like Dan Baumstark from Physio DC, before starting a new excursive regime. Reversing bunions is typically done through surgery. However, strengthening the muscles that support the hips and switching to shoes that are more practical will decrease the pain of a bunion.