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A bunion -- a bony bump on the outside edge of the big toe -- is more than an aesthetic annoyance. Make simple changes to your footwear and activities to limit pain and maintain mobility.

A bunion occurs when the bones of the big toe's biggest joint become misaligned, which forces the joint to stick out to the side and forms a knob on the side of the toe. Here are five things you need to know about bunions.

1. Genes are usually to blame. Most people who develop bunions are predisposed to them because of the structure of their feet, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

2. Women are more susceptible to bunions than men. That may be due, at least in part, to choice of footwear. High heels and shoes that crowd the toes may lead bunions to form or make existing ones more likely to cause symptoms, such as pain, redness, hard skin and reduced range of motion in the big toe.

3. Bunions can lead to a cascade of consequences for the feet. Bunions get worse over time, and without treatment, they can -- like dominoes -- force the big toe to press against the second toe, and the second against the third. Rubbing can lead to calluses that make walking painful. Bunions also can cause bursitis and arthritis in the feet.

4. Wardrobe and lifestyle modifications may help. Wear shoes that give the toes more room to move. Use shoe inserts or place padding inside your shoe to keep the bunion from rubbing. Finally, avoid standing for too long.

5. An abundance of surgical options are available if self-care doesn't provide relief. Surgeons can employ more than 100 different surgeries to treat bunions, according to the National Institutes of Health. The goal of any procedure is to remove the bunion and place the bones of the big toe back in their proper positions.

Podiatrist Dr. Kory Miskin, member of the Medical Staff at Siloam Springs Regional Hospital, is accepting new patients in the Siloam Springs area. Podiatrists specialize in diagnosing and treating injuries, diseases and other conditions of the feet, ankles and lower legs. Part of Northwest Physicians, Dr. Miskin also sees patients in Bentonville. To schedule an appointment, call 479-553-2664 today.

Your changing, high-mileage feet

By age 50, most people have walked 75,000 miles, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. That's roughly equivalent to 27 trips by foot from New York to Los Angeles. Over time, your feet may start to feel -- and show -- the effects of natural wear and tear. The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society reports that as you age, your feet can:

• Flatten a bit as they lose some of their arch

• Forfeit range of motion as joints stiffen

• Lose natural cushioning in the heel as fat pads wear away

• Subtly change shape by widening or lengthening.

General News on 09/11/2019

Print Headline: Five facts about bunions

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