The medical term for a bunion is Hallux Valgus and it is one of the most common foot deformities. There is a genetic component to bunions but is typically just faulty foot mechanics like flat feet, which can be a big contributor to a bunion. However, an even larger contributor to the development of bunions is the footwear that is worn. For example, if you over-pronate, which is the rolling in of the foot at the ankle joint, you are already prone to bunions. If you add tight shoes to this problem, you will most likely develop a painful bunion along with calluses and possibly a hammer toe.
This is why women are more prone to bunions than men because women wear high heels that puts all the pressure on the front of the foot and changes the shape of the foot by forcing the toes together in the narrow toe box. Tight shoes can actually change the structure of the foot joint. When a bunion forms at the base of the big toe, the toe joint will stick out and the big toe will be forced towards the second toe. The second toe is usually the one that will become hammered. The skin will form a callus and the deep tissues become inflamed and swollen, not to mention painful.
A foot with a bunion can become so deformed that over-lapping will occur between the first and second toe. The bunion can also develop bursitis, which is inflammation of the bursa. The bursa is a tiny fluid-filled sac that works as a sliding surface between tissues of the body. The major bursa is located near large joints such as the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. This can become infected and cause a lot of pain.
An ingrown toenail can possibly occur on the first toe due to the excessive pressure that is being applied. In some cases, if there is chronic pressure caused by the bunions, corns, calluses or bursitis, the bunion can become ulcerated and infected. Once a bunion develops, a wide variety of footwear will become uncomfortable to wear. Any shoe that doesn’t provide enough room in the toe box or that are made with hard materials can become difficult to wear. Sneakers are typically the ideal footwear for someone suffering from a bunion, or a flexible shoe that stretches enough to adjust to the deformity. Also make sure the shoe is supportive enough to control foot motion. Use an arch support if necessary and avoid high-heeled shoes. If your bunion becomes painful, red and swollen, ice the joint and elevate the foot. Two companies that offer flexible, fashionable footwear that would be good for bunion problems are Tom’s and Hey Dude. Both companies promote comfort footwear which is what all bunion sufferers need.