View Full Version : Can bunions be prevented?

01-04-2007, 02:48 PM
I'm suddenly feeling a bulge on the sides of my big toe and it is noticeable. I am assuming this is a bunion? I've never had foot problems and I swear I didn't feel/see it sooner. Am I going to have one, or is there something I can do to prevent it? I've been walking more on the treadmill and my shoes are fairly new (couple of months). I've been wearing comfortable regular shoes too lately, nothing too high or foot aching. Any input? I'd like to prevent getting one if at all possible.

01-04-2007, 03:13 PM
Most bunions are shoe related but there is a tendency for them to show up in families so there may be a genetic component to how easily that bone shifts and responds to injury.

Wearing shoes that fit properly (and aren't tight) can nip it in the bud.
If you need surgery, much of it can be done laparoscopically (I think) so healing is faster.

01-04-2007, 03:20 PM
They are hereditary. My mother had one but never needed surgery. Mine was bad (huge) and I had surgery 3 yrs. ago. One of my dd's had bunion surgery this year at age 28. I would not have the surgery unless it is really gets to bothering you. I can tell you are not near to that point. The surgery really was necessary for myself and my daughter and now I don't have that constant pain that I once had. I also think the horrible bunion caused another problem..Morton's neuroma.

My advice is to wear sensible shoes...something with a broad front (no pointed shoes.) I know that is not what you want to hear. I used to be a shoe fanatic and didn't care how much they hurt my feet as long as they were cute. I'm sure I really made mine worse by my shoe selections. I wore pointed shoes with no arch support for years.

Since you have just noticed this bulge, I would really be selective on shoe choices. I didn't say any of this to worry you, only to show how I aggravated mine.

01-04-2007, 03:40 PM
Thanks for the replies. I don't think my parents have any problem with bunions, or they haven't had surgery at least. When they live 500 miles away, it's hard to tell.

I don't wear heels all that much, although I love them. I just don't see the need to wear them to the grocery store since I don't work. I have a couple of new pairs of comfortable shoes that are not high, so I can't see it being shoe related. I'll keep an eye out on it though. Hopefully it doesn't get any worse.

01-04-2007, 05:34 PM
I know they say bunions can be caused by wearing the wrong shoes, but that is not my case. I am tall, so I have never worn much of a heel, except for a short time like at a wedding or black tie event. When I had a corporate job, I wore lower heeled pumps, like 1" or so.

I have very flat feet, and I think they contribute to my bunions. My big toes both point outward, toward the second toe.

The actual big toe joint does not trouble me or give me pain. The only problem I have, is sometimes the friction between the big toe and second toe causes a corn or irritation.

I have seen a podiatrist, who was all excited to do a bunionectomy, but i have heard many horror stories about the recovery, and since I have no real life-altering pain or problems, I have opted not to do it.

For now, I love Clark's and Aerosoles shoes, for having roomy toe boxes and comfortable insoles. The foot doctor did recommend wearing orthotic inserts, which I did have made, with sneakers.

01-04-2007, 07:33 PM
I have occasional bunion problems which have been caused by wearing shoes that are 1/2 size too large (I loved them and bought them anyway, and they are flat Mary Janes--very comfortable except for the bunion factor). The smart thing to do would be stop wearing the shoes altogether, but instead I just don't wear them too many days in a row.

01-05-2007, 09:36 AM
I have rather bad bunions on both feet and get burning arthritis pain in them sometimes, especially when they're subjected to extra work. I had to stop running because of them :( but I can still do aerobics, walk, ride horseback, and generally function normally.

My foot doc, who would like me to have the surgury but I'm balking, says bunions can be caused by poor shoe choices, heredity, or simply for no identifiable reason. (Mine are probably hereditary, as my dad has the same problem.) So, they're only partially preventable.

01-05-2007, 09:54 AM
Here's an excerpt from an orthopedic website...I'm breaking most of the rules!

Relief from bunions

Most bunions are treatable without surgery. Prevention is always best. To minimize your chances of developing a bunion, never force your foot into a shoe that doesn't fit. Choose shoes that conform to the shape of your feet. Go for shoes with wide insteps, broad toes and soft soles. Avoid shoes that are short, tight or sharply pointed, and those with heels higher than 2 1/4 inches. If you already have a bunion, wear shoes that are roomy enough to not put pressure on it. This should relieve most of your pain. You may want to have your shoes stretched out professionally. You may also try protective pads to cushion the painful area.

If your bunion has progressed to the point where you have difficulty walking, or experience pain despite accomodative shoes, you may need surgery. Bunion surgery realigns bone, ligaments, tendons and nerves so your big toe can be brought back to its correct position. Orthopaedic surgeons have several techniques to ease your pain. Many bunion surgeries are done on a same-day basis (no hospital stay) using an ankle-block anesthesia. A long recovery is common and may include persistent swelling and stiffness.

01-05-2007, 09:56 AM
To a great degree hereditary although wearing the wrong shoes can certainly aggravate things if you have appropriate genetics. My mother, aunts & grandmother had feet from he11. they never wore 'fashion" shoes but had awful bunions early. none ever had surgery although they should have. my mother's bunions have progressed to the point where the bunion is so far forward that it's now the front edge of her foot with the toes all squashed below it. her sisters had bunions on the little toe side as well, although there's probably a different word to describe them. I have the potential but so far am very active with a small bulge below the big toe. I don't wear high heels or pointy shoes and still wear a 'B" width comfortably. I had a brief problem 10 years ago where I was developing a bone spur in the area. went to a podiatrist who recommended specific superfeet insoles, and a short course of antiinflammatory drugs. It worked, the pain went away & I'm still running and hiking pain free.

If you know of good podiatrist (one who'll give you advice without immediately jumping on the surgery idea) if might be worth your $ to get his/her opinion on how to (possibly) head off trouble before it progresses.

01-05-2007, 12:34 PM
Thanks everyone for the info. It's wierd - today it's almost not there. I've been out running errands in the same shoes I wore yesterday too. I'm sure it's not the shoes. I'll have to keep an eye on when it happens in terms of what I was doing and what shoes I was wearing.