From Dr. Mercola:
Your foot is the foundation of your ability to move, walk, run, jump and stand. Each of your feet and ankles has 29 different bones, accounting for over 25 percent of the bones in your body. The American Podiatric Medical Association found that 77 percent of people over 18 years suffer from foot pain.1
Failure to walk and run with proper form and posture can result in tight muscles, changing the form and function of the joints in your foot. Flip flops, tight shoes and high heels can trigger changes in your foot structure leading to pain and deformity.
Simple exercises and proper footwear can make a big difference in the potential development or progression of bunions. By the time you reach age 50, your feet will likely have traveled 75,000 miles.2 No wonder so many people experience so much discomfort and pain.
What’s a Bunion?
Bunions are an anatomical deformity possibly resulting from a congenital structural defect or may be initiated from poor foot function and tight musculature. Constricted muscles and tendons exert a strong force on the joints of your foot.
An area often exhibiting deformity from those forces is the joint between your big toe and your foot. This is where bunions commonly form. Bunions may also form on the other side of your foot, in the joint between your little toe and the long bones of your foot.
Thickened skin may also develop over the bump. This area may become swollen and inflamed, contributing to your pain and discomfort from bony changes.
When the bunion forms between the base of your big toe and the first metatarsal bone (long bone of your foot), it creates an imbalance in how your weight is distributed over your foot joints.
This increases the deformity and the discomfort. When the bunion forms between your little toe and the fifth metatarsal it’s called a bunionette.
How Bunions Form
Although most bunions develop in adulthood, bunions may develop in adolescence as well. Among adolescents, they most frequently occur in girls between 10 and 15 years of age. Women are also at greater risk for developing a bunion or bunionette than men.3
There are several factors that increase your risk of developing a bunion. You have control over some of these factors, and others are a function of your bone structure and development.4
✓ Wearing high heels
✓ Wearing narrow shoes
✓ Foot injuries
✓ Feet don’t develop properly before birth
✓ Uneven weight bearing, which makes a joint unstable
✓ Tight muscles and tendons
✓ Inherited foot type
Each of these factors places your foot in an unnatural position. Consistent use and weight bearing on your foot in a poor position may encourage your muscles to become less flexible. A lack of flexibility will increase your risk of a bunion deformity.
Dr. Georgeanne Botek,