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Understanding Your Bunion Risk Factors

Your feet are essential to your ability to do everything you love, from walking and running to skiing and ice skating. Many take their feet for granted until something terrible happens, like a fracture or a bunion.

Bunions continually worsen over time and affect every aspect of your life. Even if you don't have a bunion right now, you may be at risk of developing one in the future.

If you're worried about developing a bunion, Dr. Marque A. Allen and the Sports Medicine Associates of San Antonio team provide the necessary information. Dr. Allen evaluates your foot structure and family history to determine if you're at risk for bunions or other foot conditions.

The facts on bunions

Hallux valgus, or a bunion, is often distinguishable by the bony bump on the big toe's side. However, the bump is just the tip of the iceberg; there are many other issues in your foot's bone structure.

The main factor with bunions is the bone of the big toe moving out of alignment from an outside force. As the bone moves away from the other toes, the big toe begins to tilt in towards the second toe.

Bunions are a progressive foot disorder that worsens over time, especially without treatment. As soon as a bump begins to form, seeking treatment is essential to prevent it from worsening.

People suffer different symptoms with bunions, depending on the severity of the bunion and your lifestyle habits. Symptoms often include pain, stiffness, and difficulty moving the big toe. Other symptoms include redness, discoloration, and the formation of corn or calluses.

Bunion risk factors

Bunions don't typically form out of the blue; most people have certain risk factors that cause them to form. Although doctors don't know the exact cause of bunions, it's thought that your foot structure is at fault.

You inherit a specific type of foot and bone structure from your parents. If your parents have had a bunion or struggle with foot issues, you're more likely to suffer from them yourself. Genetics, unfortunately, plays a significant role in bunion formation.

Genetics aren't the only culprit behind bunions, though: Other factors also put you at risk for them. If you're living with rheumatoid arthritis or other forms of inflammatory arthritis, you're also at risk for a bunion.

Foot deformities at birth are another cause of bunions forming later in life. The deformity may put pressure on the big toe joint, pushing it out of alignment and causing a bunion.

Other foot injuries are another cause of bunions. Any injury that affects how you walk or damages the toe joint can lead to a bunion.

Understanding these risk factors is the key to knowing if you may have a bunion form later. If you're at risk, there are some steps you can take to decrease the likelihood of a bunion getting worse.

Can I prevent bunions?

Preventing a bunion isn't easy because they don't form due to one cause; you also can't change the structure of your foot, which happens through genetics.

However, if you have risk factors for bunions or have already noticed a bump forming on your foot, there are steps you can take to keep a bunion from getting worse.

One of the biggest culprits behind worsening bunions is wearing ill-fitting shoes. For example, wearing pointed heels is one of the easiest ways to worsen a bunion because it puts unnecessary pressure on the feet.

Wearing shoes with a wide toe box prevents pressure on the toes, which aids in a worsening bunion. Try on shoes that are comfortable and fit well to your feet.

It's also a good idea to try shoes on later in the day, when the fit is the most accurate. Your feet swell throughout the day, which may cause pressure in ill-fitting shoes.

Treating inflammatory arthritis is another way to prevent bunions from worsening. If the bunion continues to worsen despite trying prevention tips, orthotics and other treatments may be necessary.

For more information on bunions and treatments, call one of our offices in the greater San Antonio, Texas, area today or request a consultation with Dr. Allen on our website.

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