4 Steps You Can Take to Help Prevent Bunions

As many as one in three people over age 65 have bunions. A bunion is a bony protrusion at the base of your big toe that develops when your big toe pushes against your other toes. Over time, the big toe joint can grow large and stick out.

Bunions may start out small, but they can become large and painful if left untreated. Soreness and swelling are common, which can make it painful to walk, exercise, or even wear shoes. 

One common risk factor for developing bunions is genetics, which you can’t control. But other risk factors, such as the shoes you wear regularly, are things you can work with to prevent getting bunions.

Jeremy Moran, DPM, and our team at ToeOp in Tomball, Texas, are experts at treating and preventing bunions. You can use the following four tips to help prevent bunions from developing or getting worse.

1. Wear wide, comfortable shoes

Narrow shoes with pointed toes might be in style, but they’re a leading cause of bunions. Shoes with pointed toe boxes tend to force your toes together. In tight-fitting shoes, your big toe might get pushed under or over the next toe.

Choosing shoes with wide toe boxes will give your toes room to spread out, and thereby reduce your risk of developing bunions. Furthermore, orthotics or shoe inserts can help redistribute your weight in your shoes to take the pressure off your toes. 

2. Don’t wear high heels

High heels shift your weight to the balls of your feet. They also push your toes to the fronts of your shoes, crowding your toes and putting stress on the joints of your big toes. Wearing high heels for years can lead to a variety of foot issues, including bunions.

If you can’t avoid wearing high heels completely, limit the time you spend in them. Wear high heels for special events, but take them off when sitting, and wear comfortable shoes for the rest of the day.

3. Exercise your feet

Weak ligaments in your feet can increase your risk of developing bunions. Exercising your feet can strengthen muscles and tendons, which can help prevent bunions from developing and minimize symptoms of existing bunions. 

Exercises, such as toe flexing, stretching your big toe, and picking up small objects with your toes, can have many benefits. Talk to Dr. Moran about foot exercises that might work well for you.

4. Cushion the bunion before it gets worse

If a bunion starts to develop, take extra care to keep your big toe joint from getting irritated. Even if a bunion has started forming, that doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get a large, painful bunion that needs invasive treatment.

Bunions grow when they get irritated and swollen. Try padding the bunion with moleskin or a bunion cushion to reduce irritation and keep the bunion from getting painful. Dr. Moran can recommend toe braces or pads to keep your big toe in place and reduce your risk of making your bunion worse. 

For more tips on preventing bunions, book an appointment over the phone with ToeOp today.

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