A bunion (medically known as hallux valgus) is a bony lump usually located at the base of the big toe. The lump is not actually new bone growth, but rather just the bone that is slowly being pushed outwards.
You may experience the following symptoms:
The main sign of a bunion is the big toe pointing towards the other toes on the same foot.
A swollen, bony bump on the outside edge of your foot
Pain and swelling around your big toe that's made worse by pressure from wearing shoes
Sore skin over the top of the bunion
Changes to the shape of your foot, making it difficult to find shoes that fit
Hard, callused and red skin caused by your big toe and second toe overlapping
If you have them then you know the lump can get quite sore, especially if you wear footwear which squeezes your toes.
Bunions come in all different shapes and sizes.
Take a look at this bunion severity scale to assess what stage your feet are at.
The outward pushing of the bone to cause the lump has probably happened slowly over a number of years. For some this is due to the way the underside of your foot is shaped and therefore the way that has caused you to roll on to the inside of your feet when you walk (it’s called overpronation). This wonky walking has put pressure on the bone and caused a lump. In addition your big toe may have edged inwards to get a little cosier with your second toe and limit the overpronation.
Many of you can blame your family for your bunion as they are often hereditary and you are certainly not alone if you have them. Over 15 million people suffer from them in the UK and it’s estimated that around 30% of every Western country suffers from bunions.
Women are more prone to developing bunions than men as they are more likely to have squeezed their feet into ill-fitting high heel shoes and have made an existing condition worse. With prolonged wearing of constraining footwear your toes will adapt to the new position and lead to the deformity we know as a foot bunion.
It’s a fact that the older you get the more likely it is you will develop a bunion. In the UK 85% of the people who have bunions are women over 45, with the market size increasing with age.
Other causes are previous foot conditions such as sprains, fractures, nerve injuries, loose ligaments, and low muscle tone.
The only treatment to correct bunions and make your big toes lovely and straight again is through surgery.
In the UK this can be carried out on the NHS but only if you are in considerable pain with your bunion. You will not be treated if you are getting the surgery done for cosmetic reasons. You can however of course go private for your care.
Going down the route of traditional bunion surgery needs careful consideration. Not to be done if you’re required to run around after young children, pets etc! It can take about 6 to 8 weeks to recover, during which time you’ll need to be completely off your feet and crutches will be required when moving around. There are less invasive methods including keyhole bunion surgery but you'll need to speak to your doctor and do your research to find what is right for you.
However, there’s no guarantee the surgery will be completely successful. Your bunions may come back and it doesn’t mean you will suddenly be able to totter around in your favourite Louboutins again. You’ll need to take extra special care of them in order to prevent them from reoccurring.
See below for home treatments for an alternative to surgery if you’re in pain.
Here are home treatments that can the ease pain and discomfort of those pesky toe lumps:
After a long day of walking round the shops take non-prescription medicines such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, following the recommended dose, to help relieve bunion pain.
Elevate the foot to help reduce inflammation and get you other half to give you a nice foot massage with some soothing essential oils.
Grab yourself a pack of peas out the freezer and apply to the painful joint to ease pain.
You can buy orthotics, arch supports and bunion pads which will redistribute the weight, take the pressure off and protect the big toe. Take a look on Amazon to read the reviews on some different products to see which might work best for you.
If possible, use shoes with a wider fit or specifically designed for bunions so that the toes aren’t cramped. You shouldn’t wear heels often, especially ones with a tight toe box as there will be greater pressure on the toes.
Avoid activities that put excessive pressure on the foot, especially the big toe.
So you’ve got bunions and you don’t want them to get any worse. An important step to slow down or even prevent the worsening of bunions and the pain which can come with them is to wear well fitting shoes.
Wearing suitable, comfortable shoes can prevent irritation and strain on the bunion. If you’re a serial high heel shoe wearer, this is not good news. Comfortable and stylish don’t tend to go together. However Calla shoes can provide the solution for when only heels will do.
For every day wear, read on for some tips on choosing shoes that are best for bunions:
- When buying a new pair of shoes, make sure to allow around half an inch of allowance at the front and back of the shoe.
- It is best to fit shoes while standing. This will allow the foot to support your weight, spreading your feet.
- A good time to purchase shoes is during the end of the day. The feet are slightly larger in the evening than in the morning.
- Select a shoe with wide toe box. This is the area within the shoe where your toes are located. A spacious toe box provides more room between your toes, hence, decreases the chances of irritation to your bunion.
- In some cases, one foot tends to be larger than the other. In this case, go for the larger-sized foot, then purchase an insert to compensate for the smaller foot.
- Avoid patent leather shoes or any shoe that does not stretch, these shoes are terrible for bunions.
- It is important to re-measure your feet regularly. A bunion is a progressive condition, and unfortunately the size of a bunion can change over time.
Although high heels are considered a big no-no if you have bunions, there will be times when flat shoes just aren’t going to fit the bill. Weddings, christenings, the office Christmas party or even a romantic night out with your partner are all occasions when you will want to add an extra level of style and confidence to your outfit, and only heels will do.
If you still want to wear beautiful shoes for that special occasion then Calla shoes are your answer. Not recommended for striding to drop the kids or grandkids off at school, but definitely comfortable enough to get you through a night out with friends or your sister’s wedding. Designed with extra room to fit your bunions in comfortably and additional features like a breathable, padded insole you can be confident you’ll be able to dance the night away in a pair of beautiful heels.