Small, red patches on the skin in the area of the big toe joint may be an indication that a bunion is forming. Many people panic if they believe that they are in the process of developing a bunion. However, not all bunions are painful, and options exist for decreasing the pain and discomfort in those that are. Following are three things that you need to know about bunions.
Bunions Are Hereditary
Although it is commonly believed that bunions are caused by wearing pointed toes, that is not the case. While footwear with narrow toes that squeeze the feet into a too-small space can act as triggers to bunions and certainly make them worse, they are not the underlying cause -- bunions are hereditary. The risk of a bunion developing is largely dependent on foot type. For instance, if the bone located just behind the big toe is too round, it can cause the kind of joint instability that increases vulnerability to the development of bunions. Other foot factors that may play a part in bunions include flat feet and low arches. Nonetheless, if bunions run in your family, you may be able to decrease their likelihood by not wearing constricting footwear or high heels -- high heels cause body weight to tip forward, making it so that the toes carry the brunt of the weight, creating conditions in which bunions are more likely to appear.
Pregnant Women May Be At Increased Risk of Developing Bunions
Added weight, swelling, and hormonal changes that result in flatter feet and looser ligaments all combine to increase the likelihood of bunions in pregnant women with genetic predispositions to this condition. If you fall into this group, take particular care with choosing footwear for the course of your pregnancy. Wearing wider shoes with arch support may help lessen your chances of developing bunions.
Not All Bunions Require Surgery
Changes in footwear and wearing pads specifically designed to provide relief are all the treatment that's necessary for many of those who suffer from bunions. However, some situations do call for surgery if the patient is going to maintain a good qualify of life. As a general rule of thumb, if the bunion doesn't hurt or restrict your mobility, it doesn't require surgery. In fact, foot pain has been known to develop in those who have had bunions surgically removed when there was no prior pain or discomfort. Many bunions can be successfully managed through preventative strategies such as choosing the right footwear and using specially designed bunion pads.
If you have questions about bunions or other type of foot problems, please feel free to reach out to your local foot doctor at your earliest convenience, like those at Laurel Podiatry Associates, LLC.