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  • National Bunion Day

What are the Myths about Bunions?

Updated: Apr 8, 2019

High heels cause bunions

Because there are more women bunion sufferers than men, this has fed into the idea that high heels cause bunions. It remains scientifically unclear however. More likely is that a person has a predisposition to developing bunions, perhaps a genetic predisposition. If you have a particular foot shape or biomechanical anomaly which cause bunions, then ill-fitting shoes (of any kind) will exacerbate the problem, but they are unlikely to be the only cause.

A bunion is just a lump of fluid

A bunion is not a lump of fluid. It is a misaligned bone so that the round surface of the 1st metatarsal head is protruding. Usually the 1st metatarsal and the big toe are in a straight line. A bunion is formed when they are no longer in this straight line. The bunion may indeed be accompanied by a sac of fluid which forms to reduce pressure on the bony metatarsal head prominence. The underlying problem is the misalignment

Once you have bunion surgery, they won’t return

Unfortunately, having bunion surgery does not guarantee that your bunions will not return. Studies have found that there is a chance that your bunions will come back. The bunion is more likely to recur if the surgery does not sufficiently correct the deformity. Also since other factors such as tight muscles, foot pronation and obesity might be involved in the deformity, if these are not corrected for, the condition may recur over time.

Surgery is the only way to treat bunions

Surgery is the only way to correct the toe to a straight alignment without additional support. However there are a number of ways and techniques to relieve bunion pain and discomfort. Footwear that conforms to the foot shape and reduces excessive forces on the skin can reduce discomfort. Orthoses can achieve a better functioning joint in some cases. Splinting or manipulation / mobilisation may help alignment.

All bunions are painful and sore to walk on

Bunions come in all shapes and sizes. Some people have very mild bunions with a small bump and no pain, whilst others have a large bump, arch loss, deviation of the toes, chronic foot pain and even pain in the calf. Sometimes the pain is related to poor function of the joint or nerve entrapment and in other feet the pain is related to the pressure of the footwear on the bony prominence and local skin and nails. The degree of deformity and the function of the joint are not always related, which is why some ladies can still wear high heels despite a marked toe deformity.

Only women can develop bunions

While women are more prone to bunions than men, both men and women can suffer from bunions.

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