Bunions are a very common foot problem amongst Australians, and while some people with bunions experience little or no symptoms, many people experience redness, swelling and excruciating pain – some bunions can even become so painful that putting on a shoe or walking can be difficult. Bunions tend to be genetic, and if you have an inflammatory condition like rheumatoid arthritis or if you are on your feet a lot you may be at increased risk. The only way to completely get rid of a bunion is with surgery, but there are things you can do to manage the symptoms from your bunions and stop the formation from getting worse.
Wear Proper Footwear
Inappropriate shoes can be detrimental to your foot health. Shoes shouldn’t be too tight, the toe area should be wide, and the heel should be less than 1 to 2 inches. Shoes should also have good support for the arch of your foot. It is ok to wear high heels occasionally but they should not be worn every day. If you do require height, block-style heels, wedges and platform shoes are better options as these are more likely to distribute your weight more evenly across your foot and have a shallower angle which means you won’t be pushed onto the balls of your feet. Also, be sure to always try on new shoes before buying. Shoes from different companies may be sized differently so always go by what is comfortable, not by your usual size.
Use Supportive Inserts in Your Shoes
These will ensure your foot is in proper alignment and the arch is supported. You can purchase inserts at pharmacies or have prescription orthotics made. If you are unsure which type is best for you, consult a podiatrist. They will take measurements of your foot and recommend the best options for your feet.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
The weight of your body puts pressure on your feet every time you take a step so if you are overweight, your foot and big toe joint are under more pressure than they need to be. When the toe joint is under high pressure, there’s a greater chance of it developing a bunion or becoming inflamed and sore.
Do Foot Exercises Regularly
Having weak foot muscles may be associated with more pain and walking problems in people with bunions. Try these exercises at the end of the day (after you have removed your shoes):
- Stretch your big toe. Use your fingers to pull your big toe into proper alignment with the rest of your toes.
- Stretch the rest of your toes. Point them straight ahead for 10 seconds, then curl them under for 10 seconds. Repeat several times.
- Flex your toes. Press your toes against the floor or a wall until they are bent back. Hold them for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat several times.
- Grip with your toes. Practice picking up an article of clothing or a towel with your toes, dropping it, then picking it up again.
Look After Your feet
Many people neglect their feet but it’s important they are treated to a little pampering occasionally. Soak them in warm water when they are tired or sore. Ice packs also work well to calm red, painful feet. Use moisturizer so they don’t get too dry and massage them from time to time, manually moving your big toe around to keep the tissue soft and the toe flexible. At the end of a long day elevate your feet and take off any pressure.
Remember, healthy feet are happy feet. If you are concerned about bunions or have any other general foot health issues, contact the team at The Walking Clinic, Canberra’s local trusted foot care experts. Make an appointment with one of our experienced podiatrists today.