Hallux Valgus, commonly referred to as a Bunion, is a condition that occurs when the joint in the big toe becomes enlarged and swollen. This causes a lot of pain in the joints under the first and second toes and can sometimes lead to stiffness in the big toe. People develop Bunions when the big toe angles inwards towards the rest of the toes, causing the joint to enlarge. This happens for some reasons and in many cases, custom orthotics are a good way to treat the problem. Custom or gel toe spacers and bunion night splints can also provide relief and help align the toe. Check out our Blog “Bunions? How to avoid pain and Surgery”.
What Causes Bunions?
In many cases, Bunions are caused by ill-fitting shoes. The tightness at the front of the shoe forces the big toe inwards and causes the joint to enlarge. This is especially common in people that wear high heels or pointy shoes that lack space for the toes to sit comfortably. At Healthy Steps, we can measure and expertly fit you with well-fitting footwear to accommodate and protect your Bunions.
However, abnormalities in the foot or congenital predisposition can also lead to Bunions. People that have a hypermobile foot type or who have weaker connective tissue are more likely to develop a Bunion. Metatarsus Varus, a condition that causes the front of the foot to turn inward, also increases the risk of Bunions.
Overpronation, also known as flat arches, is a problem that causes the foot to roll inwards when walking and running. This makes the big toe point inward towards the little toes and, over time, Bunions can develop.
How To Prevent Bunions
Choosing the right footwear and ensuring that it fits correctly is important if you want to avoid Bunions. Avoiding anything that is too tight-fitting and any pointy shoes will prevent the big toe from being forced inwards.
Bunion pads can also be used inside the shoes to stop the joint from rubbing against the outside of the shoe. Although this will reduce inflammation and manage the problem to some extent, it is not the most effective way to stop Bunions from developing in the first place.
If the issue is caused by difficulties with the foot, like overpronation, Hypermobility, or Metatarsus Varus, specialist treatments may be required.
How Can Bunions Be Treated?
When Bunions are caused by abnormalities in the shape of the foot, it is important to address the underlying issues, and custom orthotics and well-fitting footwear are some of the best ways to do this. Providing extra support and redistributing weight across the foot can take pressure off the big toe joint. Extra cushioning and hollowed-out sections to reduce under painful joints also help to prevent Bunions. Specific strengthening and balancing exercises can also help stabilize the foot and help slow down the bunion progression.
Using 3D scanning technology or by manually casting the foot, we can take detailed measurements or impressions of your foot, which will then be used to create custom orthotics that fit perfectly to your foot. Wearing these inserts will manage problems caused by abnormalities in the foot and help prevent Bunions and other foot pain issues.
If you are experiencing problems with Bunions or any other foot pain problems, get in touch with Healthy Steps today to set up a consultation. We can determine the issue for you and create specially designed custom orthotics to provide long-term improvements in the health of your feet.