Compromising, Conspicuous and Common.
This noticeable foot condition affects up to 1 in 3 people, is visually evident and often very painful… What is this podiatric issue that leaves so many people with serious, ongoing pain, as well as the suffering of such a visible affliction; Bunions!
A bunion is a mis-alignment of the joint of the big toe, where the first metatarsal (the inner bone) shifts inward, and the adjoining proximal phalange (the outer bone) moves in the opposite direction.
The visually prominent bulge or ‘bump’ is often mistaken to be an excess growth of bone, but the protrusion is actually due to the mis-alignment and gradual movement of these two bones in the big toe.
Bunions can often carry along with them their own stereotypes.
Some assume that bunions only affect the elderly, remembering a menacing protrusion submerging from grandpa’s soft and unsuspecting slipper.
Others have assumed that they are a peril faced mainly by women, due to the choices of some to elect beauty over practicality, therein putting their foot-health in peril.
Perhaps there are some that relate the bunion to those in careers such as teaching or nursing, where the job demands long hours on their feet.
Or others still might assume that bunions are a repercussion faced by athletes, due to hard stops and extra stresses put on their feet through training and competition.
Elite athlete podiatrist Mark Lin says that “The truth is, bunions are a condition that could affect seemingly anybody. In some cases, children can be seen to be developing bunions, even before entering into high-school. While studies have shown that women and the elderly are more at risk of experiencing bunions, this condition still affects large numbers of the rest of the population. Even the demands on one’s feet, whether it be bustling between hospital rooms or sweating through interval training, is not a direct cause of a bunion condition.”
Most frequently, a bunion is a hereditary condition.
Lin explains that “the structure and shape of the foot are passed down genetically, and these factors play an important role in the probability of developing or not developing a bunion within one’s lifetime. Some foot types that are at increased risk of bunion development are feet with low arches, loose joints and tendons, or those with flat feet.”
While they are unlikely to cause a bunion independently, there are additional factors that can trigger or exacerbate any underlying bunion conditions.
Access to practical and functional shoe options can affect the experience of bunions, as “shoes that fit tightly to the foot, particularly around the front of the foot, heightens the likelihood of bunion development” advises Lin.
“We also do see many athletes, along with those in careers which require large amounts of time on their feet, experiencing bunions. The extra stress put on the foot from these activities makes the foot more susceptible to bunions, along with a variety of other foot injuries and conditions.”
As with any foot-related health problems, prevention is always the best cure, “at Footwork Podiatry we can assess a patient’s susceptibility to bunion conditions, and develop tailored plans to each patient designed to lower their risk of bunion development, without limiting their activities or their overall life enjoyment.”
“We also work closely with many clients who have already begun to experience bunion conditions, helping to improve their toe alignment, alleviate and remedy the issue, while keeping them out of the surgery room and avoiding long surgery-recovery times.”
Get in contact with Footwork Podiatry and book your bunion risk-assessment and prevention appointment, or to develop your no-surgery bunion treatment plan with Lin and his team of professionals.
Mark Lin is a leading Sports Podiatrist in Sydney. Footwork Podiatry has two convenient locations Roseville on Sydney’s North Shore and Sydney CBD. Both offer the full spectrum of podiatry treatments and although they receive referrals from medical doctors, they are willing to assess and assist anyone who suffers from lower-limb issues.
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