I've got ugly bunions which are sore, is there anything I can do?

Bunions are hereditary so there's a chance you'll develop them - change your parents to avoid them!  They are caused by a structural deformity of the big toe joint where the bones move gradually out of alignment They mostly appear during the mid 20's and take years to progress into significant deformity. Poorly fitting shoes will make the condition worse but they do not cause it. Often they develop on both feet. Signs to look for are: the big toe joint will look a little misshapen, there might be some swelling in the joint and the joint will be slightly diagonally off-centre. Sometimes the first sign is pain as the joint moves out of position.

If you do have a bunion Supplefeet foot specialists will advise on measures to reduce discomfort this includes footwear advice and special insoles (orthotics).

Supplefeet podiatrists will work to offer you a non surgical option as whilst surgery is the definitive option it does carry risks and things to consider eg time off work.

We highly recommend the Yoga Sandals  to alleviate pressure from the big toe joint and by using and harnessing the other four toes, actively engaging and strengthening the forefeet. In early bunions that are generally asymptomatic except in poorly fitting shoe styles; this is first recommendation. Supplefeet also recommends the use of the revolutionary and innovative  slim fitting SuppleArches for in-shoe use to alleviate pressure through the big toe(s).

Surgery is the only way to manage the condition definitively. This involves realigning the bone and holding it in the new position with internal screws. Walking is limited for two weeks post-surgery, followed by four weeks in a trainer-style shoe. Total recovery can take up to six months, which is why it is only considered when the deformity becomes pronounced enough to start causing pain in sensible footwear. The surgery is generally day case and can be done under local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic. Bunions do not generally recur after surgery.

Tailors bunion or Bunionettes

You can also have a bunion on the 5th toe. Known as a tailors bunion from the days a tailor would work sitting cross legged. Mostly they are just a nuisance with shoe fitting as they create extra width issues. Sometimes they can cause a  painful bursa or a painful callus/corn under the fifth metatarsal joint. Usually looked after and managed by regular podiatry care.   These may require surgical correction in the mirror image of the surgery to correct a bunion affecting the first metatarsal. Again our Yoga sandals are marvellous antidote to managing and living with these. By engaging the 4th and 5th rays or toes it improves the position of the fifth bunionette. 

Embarrassing foot problems? Ask our resident expert and owner of our Enfield foot and ankle clinic, Emma Supple. 

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