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5 Risk Factors for Severe Bunion Pain

A bunion 一 that bony bump that forms at the base of your big toe 一 can be a literal pain. While bunions vary in severity, some people experience significant discomfort and impairment.

If you already have a bunion, you’re probably wondering what you can do to avoid exacerbating your symptoms. The best course of action is to follow your current bunion treatment plan to help slow the progression of your bunion and avoid more severe pain.

Below, our podiatric surgeons at Manhattan Podiatry Associates, PC, in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan, highlight five risk factors for severe bunion pain and how we can help you get relief.

1. Wearing high-heels or narrow shoes

Shoes can be the finishing touch of your outfit, but the wrong shoes can be a risk factor for bunions. High heels, narrow-toed shoes, and shoes that crowd your toes can put undue pressure on the joint at the base of your big toe, which can worsen your bunion and cause increased discomfort.

Wearing shoes with a wide toe box and a flat (or low) heel can help you avoid severe bunion pain.

2. Untreated biomechanical issues in your feet

Issues with the mechanics of your feet, such as overpronation (excessive inward rolling of the foot) or abnormalities in your gait, can contribute to bunion formation because they place uneven pressure on your joints. If you already have a bunion, untreated biomechanical issues can make your symptoms worse.

Runners with overpronation are at particular risk of bunions, so if you suspect you have biomechanical issues 一 whether you’re a runner or not 一 don’t hesitate to get checked.

3. Underlying conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can increase your risk of developing bunions and experiencing severe bunion pain. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation and joint damage throughout your entire body, including the joints in your feet.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, follow your treatment plan and take any prescribed medications as directed. 

4. Your occupation

Occupations or activities that involve prolonged periods of standing or repetitive motions can contribute to bunion pain. Jobs that require you to be on your feet for extended periods or activities that put repetitive stress on your feet can exacerbate existing bunions and lead to increased discomfort. 

Taking regular breaks, wearing supportive footwear, and using orthotic inserts can help alleviate strain on your feet and reduce bunion pain. If you’re prescribed orthotics, always wear them as directed.

Depending on your job, you may also find that standing on cushioned mats adds an extra layer of comfort.

5. Carrying extra weight

Carrying excess weight puts added pressure on your feet and can make your feet roll inward. The added pressure and the overpronation can both exacerbate bunion pain. 

Excess weight isn’t just about pressure on your feet. The added weight can change the shape of your feet. New research shows that obesity in childhood can contribute to changes in foot shape that increase the risk of bunions later in adolescence and adulthood.

Get help for bunions

Some of these risk factors are within your control, and that’s good news. It means there are strategies you can implement to reduce your risk of severe bunion pain, such as:

Not all risk factors are within your control, so if you do develop a bunion, it’s important to seek treatment and implement conservative treatment options. This can go a long way in helping you avoid severe pain. Conservative treatments for bunions include wearing orthotics and taking medication.

If you develop severe pain, you’re still not out of options. Our team may suggest surgery. During surgery, your big toe is realigned and held in place with wires and screws.

Don’t let bunion pain hold you back. Whether you’re just now spotting the warning signs of a bunion, or you’re starting to experience more severe pain, let us know. 

Schedule your appointment at either of our locations today and find out which treatments can help you get the relief you need.

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