If Not Shoes, What Actually Causes Bunions?

Sep 13, 2017

If we were setting out to just answer if shoes cause bunions, this blog post would be historically short – the answer is “no.”

Given the answer is so clear cut, why would people ask? Well, it’s partly because there’s a certain degree of misinformation in the general public about this matter. To take it further, though, the theory does kind of make sense.

High-heeled shoes are often blamed for bunions because they place excess pressure on the forefoot, which is obviously where bunions develop. There’s also the fact stylish pumps and stilettos often have narrow fronts that squash toes together. Also, bunions do tend to be more common for women than they do for men (who, on the whole, don’t wear high heels quite as often).

With those conditions, it’s not as easy to say shoes don’t at least contribute to an existing bunion. In all likelihood, this could very well be the case and the high-heeled footwear do exacerbate the condition.

Since we’ve taken high heels off the hook, why do bunions actually form?

Instead of footwear, bunions are more accurately caused by inherited foot structure. They start to develop when the natural distribution of forces and weight across the foot is disrupted by an imbalance of pressure, which causes instability in the big toe’s MTP joint and forces the joint’s structural components to form a hard knob. The abnormal formation extends beyond the outline of your foot, on the inside edge. Injuries and inherited foot shapes or deformities present at birth can contribute to the development of this condition.

As an example, overpronation—excessive inward rolling of the foot during the ground portion of a step—from flatfoot can cause imbalance of pressure in the MTP joint area.

It’s important to know bunions are progressive toe deformities. They will worsen over time when left untreated. Ignoring one can lead to severe pain and take away your ability to do the things in life you love doing.

The truth of the matter is a bunion can only be corrected with surgical intervention. That said, conservative care can potentially relieve symptoms and stop an early case from worsening. This is especially important for cases of juvenile bunions!

For professional bunion treatment in the greater Centerville community, come in and have Sunshein Podiatry create a treatment plan to address the problem for you. No matter if you will benefit from nonsurgical care or we recommend surgery, you can rest assured knowing we work hard to take away pain and prevent the condition from worsening.

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