Bunions are a fairly common affliction — one out of every three elderly people in the US has at least one of the bony protrusions at the base of their big toe. You can even get a bunion on your pinky toe, called a bunionette. This one is sometimes called a tailor’s bunion, named so because it was once believed that tailor’s who sat cross-legged to work added pressure to the outside of their feet, and their pinky toes developed bunions. So, it’s a bump — what’s the big deal?
The big deal is that bunions can actually impact your overall health. At best, bunions are annoying eyesores. At worst, they can have a negative ripple effect that affects you physically, emotionally, and socially.
Dr. Mirlysa Cólon-Martínez at Ortho Wellness in Boca Raton, Florida can help you get relief from you minor bunion pain and offers surgical options if other treatments don’t help. She’s one of the most highly respected and successful orthopedic surgeons, so you can trust her to expertly guide you through all your options and treat you accurately and safely.
How can a bump on my foot affect my health?
Whether your bunion is caused by genetics (they tend to run in families) or from wearing narrow high heels that squeeze your toes together, the bony little bump can influence other parts of your body and your life. Here’s how:
Bunions can change the way you walk
Because bunions are painful, you may alter the way your foot rolls from heel to toe when you walk (known as your gait) to avoid as much pain as possible. When your gait is off, your whole body has to compensate for the change and often develops soreness or joint problems as a result.
Bunions can cause knee and hip pain
You might call this a secondary effect of bunions. If your bunion pain changes your gait, your knees and hips are the first to notice, and they, in turn, make a change. The extra stress on those joints causes pain in your joints and overall fatigue.
Bunions can damage your other toes
Because bunions make your big toe turn toward your other toes, they can become crowded and cramped in your shoes, leading to corns, blisters, and hammertoes.
Bunions can lead to osteoarthritis
Bunions, especially the type that form on the top of your big toe, stiffens your toe, which means you have a reduced range of motion. That’s a perfect recipe for osteoarthritis. If this happens, you’re bound to lose some cartilage and perhaps develop a bone spur. At the very least, you’ll have trouble walking and stooping. Osteoarthritis in the toe often indicates that the disease is present elsewhere in your body as well.
Bunions can cause social awkwardness
Going barefoot or wearing sandals causes stress and anxiety if you suffer from bunions. You might cover your feet even when others at a social gathering are shoe-free, or decline invitations to events where you know your feet will show.
Bunions can cause frustration and stress
In addition to the pain that comes along with bunions, shopping for shoes proves to be a test of patience and fortitude. You may find that you need to visit several shoe stores and online outlets before finding a pair of shoes that doesn’t make your bunion pain worse. This vastly reduces your selection and may make you feel limited and trapped.
Although some of these effects are more serious than others, taken together they have the power to impact your health significantly. In fact, one study showed that having bunions has an overall negative impact on mental and physical health.
Dr. Cólon-Martínez can relieve your pain and suffering related to bunions, so you can get back to life as normal. From simple pain relief techniques to surgical removal, she knows how to address your particular needs and health goals. Call us today to schedule an appointment or book online to find out how to overcome your bunion pain.