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24.07.2022

Know your Bunions!

Making everyday tasks seem like a struggle, Hallux Valgus or bunions are a bane for many people. Standing in queues has never been fun but with bunions it can seem like a form of medieval torture.  Moreover, walking or even driving can trigger sharp, eye watering pain just on the edge of the foot, in this article we explore what bunions are and explore some preventative and curative measures.

What is Hallux Valgus?

Hallux Valgus or bunions are a bony bump which forms at the base of the big toe.  Feet consist of five long bones called the metatarsal, when the longest metatarsal becomes misaligned the result is the formation of this bump. The bump is not however new bone or overgrowth, it is where the metatarsal (the long bone) has become misshapen.

What are the symptoms?

  • Stiffness,  pins and needles,  and a burning sensation in the big toe joint
  • Redness and swelling of the big toe joint - the foot may become so wide it can be difficult to find wide enough shoes
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Arthritis in the big toe
  • Ongoing pain or pain that comes and goes 

What causes Hallux Valgus/Bunions?

Although experts have yet to concretely confirm what exactly causes bunions, factors thought to attribute to their formation include:

  • Inherited foot type
  • Foot stress or injuries
  • Deformities present at birth
  • Ill-fitting especially tight shoes
  • High heels. Wearing high heels forces your toes into the front of your shoes, often crowding your toes.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Having this inflammatory condition can make you more likely to develop bunions.

What are the possible complications of bunions?

The pain and discomfort of bunions can be an affliction in terms of quality of life making everyday tasks, hobbies or sports seem like mammoth challenges.  Furthermore if left untreated further complications can arise including:

  • Metatarsalgia. This condition causes pain and swelling in the ball of your foot, making standing very painful.
  • Bursitis. This condition occurs when the small fluid-filled pads that cushion the bones near your joints become inflamed, causing pain.
  • Hammertoe. An abnormal bend which occurs in the middle joint of a toe, often the toe next to the big toe, causing the toe to appear deformed and severe pain.

What can prevent and help bunion symptoms?

 

In terms of relieving the symptoms of bunions, remedies include toe re-aligners, bathing the foot in seaweed, massage with essential oils, and rubbing lemon on the foot to reduce inflammation. For more severe bunions, surgery is as yet the only proven option to alleviate symptoms.

Prevention is better than cure.  In order to prevent or at least delay the onset of bunions wear shoes with a wide fitting toe box so your toes can spread at ease.  Avoid pointed shoes and especially high heels. Always wear the correct size shoe.  A common mistake in shoe fitting is to choose shoes which just about fit the foot, toes shoes always have wiggle room. If you’re unsure try our size guide here: Sizing Chart.

When choosing footwear always select shoes with a wider toe box such as the Giesswein classic Merino Runner, If smart casual shoes are not a viable option, when at home try wearing slippers such as our Veitsch model. All of our products are made with fine materials which allow your feet to move and breathe, also essential components in foot health.

Take care, Giesswein.