If you are experiencing a painful, potentially red and swollen area around your big toe joint, you may be suffering bunion pain. People with this condition frequently complain of a stiffness in their big toe that makes them reluctant to bend it. A bunion is an unnatural, bony lump, forming at the base of the big toe where the foot is attached to it.
Your big toe may deviate towards the other toes, meaning that the big toe’s base pushes outward on the first metatarsal bone – the bone directly behind the big toe. This results in a bunion – or, if it involves the little toe and fifth metatarsal, a bunionette. Bunions can cause extreme pain, being susceptible to additional pressure and friction from shoes, contributing to the development of callusses. It doesn’t help that your entire body weight rests on the bunion with every step, due to its occurrence at a joint where the toe usually bends when you walk.
Bunions may be a hereditary problem, although even in this case, it can deteriorate if there is insufficient arch support or support under the ball of the foot. Your likelihood of developing a bunion is also stronger if you are a woman, particularly if you wear pointed high heels or other tight, poorly fitting shoes over a long period. This is due to such shoes pushing the foot bones into an unnatural shape.
Excessive pronation can be a significant factor in the development of bunions – pronation being the normal foot movement involving a certain degree of flattening of the arch, enabling the absorption of shock by the body in addition to its adaptation to different ground surfaces. A weak or tired foot or unsupportive footwear can cause greater than normal arch flattening, placing greater pressure and force on the big toe joint. The degenerative changes and inflammation often resulting from this can irritate the bunion.
As simple and effective means of treating bunion pain, the 3 Ss of stretching, strengthening and supporting are routinely recommended in current literature. The stretching of the calf and foot, for example, can be instrumental in decreasing pressure, while by strengthening the ankle and foot, you can also help reduce the pressures on the foot resulting from overpronation. It is also highly advisable to support the foot with appropriate shoes and insoles, including to prevent the reoccurrence or worsening of problems.
Such insoles are sold at Orange Insoles, a company that takes great pride in assisting Americans to address the worst effects of bunion pain.