Basics: What is a Bunion?
A bunion (medical term: Hallux Valgus) is an abnormal, bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. Bunions can be very painful as they force your big toe joint in the opposite direction, away from the normal profile of your foot. If left untreated, bunions can progress over time, eventually requiring surgery to quiet the pain and return the patient back to a normal active life. The imbalance in pressure makes your big toe joint unstable, eventually molding the parts of the joint into a hard knob that protrudes beyond the normal shape of your foot. Over time, the abnormal position enlarges your big toe joint, further crowding your other toes and causing sometimes, extreme bunion pain. Pain alone is the sole reason anyone should undergo surgery. Any professional doctor will only perform surgery when all other options have been exhausted. Unfortunately, as the bunion deformity progresses, the changing in foot structure can negatively impact the bunion sufferers gait and balance.
Bunion deformity can start or become more pronounced for a number of reasons, but common causes include wearing heels that fit too tightly (85% of US women wear shoes that are too small), an inherited structural defect, stress on your foot, or a medical condition such as arthritis. Most people don’t realize that your foot and thereby shoe size changes as you go through life so it’s not a bad idea to have your foot measured each year when you are out shopping for the season’s hottest slingbacks. Avoid bunion surgery if possible and try natural, less intrusive alternatives.
Who Has Bunions? Bunion Statistics
Nearly 25% of people between the ages of 18-65 years of age suffer from bunions and a staggering 67% of the those over the age of 65 have bunions. But it’s not only the more mature crowd that is seeks treatment for their bunion pain. According to the Wall Street Journal, an increasing number of younger woman are seeking out ways to treat or prevent their bunions from getting worse.
How does gender factor into those statistics? More than 50% of U.S. women have bunions. Not surprising when you take a look at the heels that are so fashionable these days. Without treatment, bunions can become so severe over time that the big toe leans completely into the other 4 toes, altering your walking gait, alignment, and that’s to say nothing of the bunion pain. Obviously it makes it very challenging to find, and wear many shoes including those of us buying sneakers, dress shoes, and work boots in the hopes we can accommodate our bunions. It’s imperative that you treat your bunion early because unlike other foot ailments, there is no cure for bunions (because it is a condition and not a disease), but most professionals and educators will agree you can prevent bunions from getting worse by treating them early. Most respectable doctors will strongly urge you to avoid surgery if you can, the risks and complications just completely out weight the benefits, especially if undergoing bunion surgery for cosmetic reasons alone.
Tell Tale Signs: Do I have a Bunion?
Some people experience intermittent swelling, redness, pain or soreness in the big toe joint when wearing tightly fitting footwear. Symptoms that you have an early bunion may be subtle at first… but watch for:
- A bulging bump, redness, and swelling on the outside of the base of your big toe joint
- Restricted movement of your big toe due to the inflammation
- Painful big toe joint
- Your big toe turning inward
- Corns or calluses developing where the big toe and second toe overlap
These are signs of trouble and a perfect time to seek the support of a Bunion Bootie. It is by far the most comfortable way to treat bunions.
Is Bunion Surgery My Only Option?
Surgery is certainly an option but should not be taken lightly. 400,000 bunion surgeries were performed in 2013 with 10-20% of them resulting in significant complications (listed below) . And don’t overlook the recovery time for bunion surgery which can range from 6 weeks to 6 months. It’s likely that you will not be able to put any weight on your foot (or drive) for the first 6-8 weeks. Remember, most people resort to surgery because they are in pain. For tens of thousands of people, Bunion Bootie has helped relieve them of that pain.
Harvard Medical School and the American Podiatric medical Association (APMA) both suggest that a “semisoft orthotic (insert) can help position the foot correctly as it strikes the ground….to ease discomfort. Bunions generally don’t require surgery unless there is an underlying deformity that can’t otherwise be corrected or the pain becomes debilitating despite conservative treatment.” The Mayo Clinic website also suggests non-surgical treatment options to relieve pain and the pressure of bunions such as; roomy toe boxes, padding and taping to reduce the stress on the bunion and alleviate pain, and inserts to distribute pressure evenly when you move your foot, before resorting to surgery. Bunion Bootie can provide the even distribution and support without the hassle of taping or painful rigid splints, without surgery. WebMD also recommends surgery “only when symptoms are severe enough to warrant such intervention” and strongly suggests the use of a more conservative, non surgical bunion treatment option such as an insole or bunion splint to ‘take the pressure off the affected joints and help the foot regain its proper shape”. Bunion Bootie has been the top selling solution for bunion sufferers, especially for those seeking around the clock support.
Below are some of the documented risks of bunion surgery;
- Delayed Healing
- Nerve Damage
- Continued Pain
What Stage is My Bunion? Degrees of Hallux Valgus “Bunion” Deformity
“Hallux valgus” is a Latin term that literally means the big toe (hallux) is turning outward (valgus). Typically the bone structure of the foot is inherited, which determines if you are or will be prone to bunions in your lifetime. Poorly fitted footwear (and arthritis for a small percentage of bunion sufferers) exacerbate the problem and usually give way to the bunion pain most of us feel. If you have mild to moderate bunions and fall under the 1st or 2nd degree of bunion deformity (shown below), you could be the perfect candidate for Bunion Booties. Bunion Bootie soft splints can bring about temporary bunion correction and straightening that many seek to help them sooth their bunion pain. For the more severe or 3rd degree bunion deformity, consult a podiatrist first. Should a bunionectomy (surgery to remove the bunion) be necessary, you may be able to assist the healing process and possibly prevent a recurrence of bunions with Bunion Booties* see who loves them!
- Toe offset by less than 20 degrees
- Possible Inflammation and Swelling
2nd Degree Deformity
- Toe offset by approx 25 degrees
- Occasional Pain, Bunion Deformity Visibly Present
3rd Degree Deformity
- Toe offset by 30-50 degrees
- Regular Pain and Swelling
- Increasing Restraint on Activities
(*For 3rd degree deformity or more consult a medical professional before using Bunion Bootie)