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Bunions

Bunions typically are not painful in the early stages, but as the deformity of the big toe joint (metatarso-phalangeal joint) worsens, the joint capsule breaks, and new tissue forms at the joint.  The pain is usually felt in the joint. 
 

Common Causes   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •

Although podiatrists blame bunions on shoes, bunions are more likely caused by hyperpronation of the foot (arches that collapse and ankles that roll in).  Bunions are often said to be hereditary.  We know for sure that the particular foot structure that causes hyperpronation  certainly is inherited from generation to generation.   Hyperpronation causes many people to walk with flared feet.  Instead of pushing off straight ahead with their first metatarsal and big toe, they push off with the second metatarsal across the big toe.  With every step, the big toe is pushed toward the second toe.  After years of walking this way, the joint finally gives in. 

 

A moderate bunion, if not too painful, may be prevented from getting worse by improving foot mechanics.

How to eliminate the pain

If your bunions are painful, the only relief may come from surgery.  On the other hand, if the bunion is not too severe or painful, and you want to avoid surgery, you need to reduce hyperpronation.  If done properly, your gait will change so that you will walk with less outward rotation of your feet which will reduce the sideways pressure on the big toe.  This will prevent the bunions from worsening, and it may appear reduced in size because of less irritation and swelling.  Several people with early onset bunions have reported them to reduce in size or even disappear because of improved gait mechanics.