While scientists don’t fully understand what causes bunions, they believe it’s a combination of lifestyle choices and genetic factors. If you have a family member with bunions — especially if they are a parent, sibling, or child — your risk of developing this foot problem goes up.
The good news? You can be proactive. By employing some prevention techniques, you can fight your heightened risk of getting a bunion.
And as specialists in bunions, Christopher Vittori, DPM, and Ameet Thakrar, DPM, can help with just that. We’ve outlined a few general tips here, but if you want more tailored bunion prevention care, don’t hesitate to visit us at Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist in Homer Glen and New Lenox, Illinois.
For now, though, let’s look at a few steps you should take if bunions run in your family.
#1: Choose your shoes wisely
Squishing your toes into cramped shoes directly increases your likelihood of bunions. In fact, if you do just one thing to prevent bunions, make it this: Choose the correct shoes.
Specifically, you should avoid high-heeled and pointed-toed shoes. Instead, opt for footwear that has plenty of room in the toe box. Your foot shouldn’t feel squeezed, and you should be able to wiggle your toes in the shoe.
#2: Monitor your feet
Make it a point to periodically note the shape of your feet — and particularly the shape of the joint at the base of your big toe, where a bunion could develop.
If you notice changes in your feet, come see Dr. Thakrar or Dr. Vittori. When you address a bunion early, treating it is often as simple as adding orthotics to your shoes or wearing toe separators. Wait, and correcting the bunion requires much more involved treatment — potentially even surgery.
#3: Strengthen your feet
The muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your feet work to keep your foot joints in proper alignment. When they’re stronger, you have a lowered risk of the joint misalignment that contributes to bunions.
Picking up objects with your toes and moving them around can help to strengthen your feet. Explore other at-home exercises specifically geared toward bunion prevention, too. If you want to take things a step further, you can also talk to our team about physical therapy targeted toward avoiding bunions.
#4: Address foot injuries
A bunion can develop after a traumatic injury to your foot. Whether you had a fracture or just a sprain, it may help to talk to our team. We can help the area heal without putting stress on other portions of your foot as your body compensates. This way, you avoid straining the joints in your big toe, increasing your risk for a bunion.
For a more personalized bunion prevention plan, call or schedule an appointment online today with Vittori Foot & Ankle Specialist.