Bunions are one of the most common foot ailments that Dr. McDonald and his team see on a regular basis. We’ve helped countless people treat their painful or problematic bunions, but because prevention is much preferred to treatment, we thought it would be a good idea to talk about which groups of people are at a heightened risk for bunion onset. If you fall into any of the following six groups, you may want to pay close attention to the health of your feet and make a few small changes to your daily routine to reduce your risk of bunion onset.
Who Is At Risk For Bunions?
Bunions can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, but certain demographics can find themselves at a heightened risk. Here’s a look at six groups that should be extra mindful of working to prevent bunions.
- Women – Bunions tend to be much more common in women, and as you’ll see when we touch on other at-risk groups, oftentimes that increased risk is due to shoe choice. Women are more likely to put their foot into a narrow-toe shoe or a high heel, and these types of shoes put immense pressure on your big toe joint. Worn regularly for years, and big toe joint dysfunction should almost be expected. Oftentimes that dysfunction manifests in the form of a bunion.
- Athletes – Athletes are also at risk of bunion onset, and again shoe choice plays a big role in this risk. While it’s unlikely that you’re playing sports in high heels, oftentimes athletes wear very tight shoes, and that can put extra strain on your big toe joint. It’s less of a concern for younger athletes, but if you’re looking to stay active as an older adult, be mindful that your running or athletic shoes are not overly tight at the toes.
- Business Professionals – People who wear dress shoes to work every day may also face an increased risk of developing bunions. Again, it’s important to wear a dress shoe with a wider toe box so that your big toe joint is not under stress throughout your entire work day. Also, swap out high heels for a lower heel or flat, and don’t be afraid to take your shoes off at your desk from time to time!
- Seniors – Older adults will also be at risk for bunion onset, but oftentimes their risk is simply tied to natural wear and tear that has occurred by the time they’ve reached their 50s, 60s and beyond. All of that strain on your feet will add up and can lead to some natural degeneration of the big toe joint, making it more likely to shift out of its natural position.
- Family History Of Bunions – While there may be a genetic predisposition for bunion onset, it doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to develop a bunion if your parents have dealt with them in the past. Instead, you’ll just want to be a little more mindful about your shoe choice and keep a close eye on your feet as you get older. If you begin to notice a bony prominence developing on the outside of your big toe, even if it’s not painful, consult with a foot specialist to stay ahead of any issues.
- Overweight Individuals – Overweight and obese individuals will also be at an increased risk of bunion development because their feet will have to bear more stress due to their added weight. Over the years, this added stress can serve to break down the big toe joint or contribute to joint shifting. Losing just a little weight can take a lot of pressure off your feet and greatly reduce your risk of bunion development and other health issues.
If you fall into one or more of the following groups, make sure that you are making smart footwear choices and that you reach out to a foot specialist if you notice any structural changes or develop any new symptoms. For more information about preventing or treating bunions, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.