Bunions are a curious thing. Where did they come from? Are they something you can prevent? What causes bunions on feet in the first place? There are several reasons for these small growths to appear; some of them are preventable, and some aren’t. Here’s what you need to know about the most common causes of bunions, so you can do your part to keep them at bay, and know when you should see your doctor for treatment.
What Causes Bunions to Form on Your Feet?
That’s right, you can thank mom and dad. If either or both of your parents have bunions, you may have a genetic predisposition to these small growths on your feet. But, don’t worry, just because you can get them due to genetics, doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to get them. Bunions are more common in women than in men. There are also times when children get bunions, and these are called juvenile bunions. They can come from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, low-muscle-tone disorders like Down Syndrome, or neuromuscular disorders like cerebral palsy. Genetics isn’t the only reason that you can get bunions, but it can be one of the risk factors when considering what is causing these growths on your feet.
2. Improperly Fitted / Too Tight Footwear
Do your toes pinch a little when you walk in those new sneakers? Or perhaps you’re experiencing a rubbing on your sole. If you’re wearing shoes that are too small for you, or shoes with a really tight toe box, you could be at risk for bunions. High heels or shoes with pointed toes may also cause bunions to appear. While occasionally choosing these options doesn’t generally cause harm, wearing them frequently can increase your bunion risk. That’s because these kinds of shoes cause a lot of pressure on the feet, and that can lead to medical problems.
3. Inflammatory Medical Conditions
If you have rheumatoid arthritis or polio, your risk of developing bunions is higher. When you’re wondering what causes foot bunions, looking at your medical history and conditions may help answer the question. Any kind of inflammatory disease, or a medical issue that frequently causes inflammation in the body, can lead to bunions. Treating the condition properly may help reduce the risk.
4. Low Arches or Flat Feet
When asking yourself what bunions are caused by, consider the shape of your feet. People with flat feet and low arches are at a higher risk for bunions. If you don’t have an arch, or your arch is very low, you may need to be more careful about your shoe choices and other considerations, so you can reduce your chances of developing bunions in the future.
5. Loose Joints and Tendons
Loose tendons and joints allow for more movement than would be seen in a typical foot, and that movement can cause the feet to spread out more when walking. Much like flat-footed or low-arched individuals, if you have looser tendons and joints in your feet, you will need to accommodate for this with your shoes. If the toe box of your shoes doesn’t allow for that, or if you’re not providing good support to your feet when walking, you can have a higher chance of bunions.
6. Weak Foot Muscles
Strengthening the muscles in your feet is one of the best ways to make sure you’re reducing your bunion risk. Frequent foot exercises will reduce the chances of getting bunions, but also help you in other ways, too, such as better balance and fewer injuries to worry about. If you’re having trouble with weakness in your feet, seeing your doctor may be a good idea for exercises and other information.
7. Strenuous Activity
If you have a job that requires standing and movement for long periods of time, that can contribute to bunions. You’re on your feet for hours at a time, and that doesn’t give your feet the break they really need. While it’s also not good to sit for hours for other health reasons, when you have a job where you stand and walk a lot, foot health should be a priority. You want to make sure you have the right shoes and are taking good care of your feet to reduce the risk of bunions.
Hormonal changes from pregnancy loosen the ligaments and flatten the feet. Pregnancy also generally comes with weight gain, and the extra pressure on the feet can contribute to bunion formation. You aren’t guaranteed to get bunions during your pregnancy, but just be aware that your risk is higher, and you’ll want to take good care of your feet during that time. Staying off of your feet more as your pregnancy progresses can help you reduce the chances of ending up with bunions.
What Should I Do If I Have Bunions?
If you’re dealing with bunions and they’re causing you discomfort, you should know that there are surgical and nonsurgical hallux valgus treatments that are specifically for the removal of bunions. You will also want to consult with your doctor to discover what causes bunions on your feet and the underlying reasons for your bunion development, which can help you prevent them in the future.
You can feel better and get back on your feet, with a little help from us. Call for an appointment today!
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