As many as a third of Americans suffer from bunions, painful, bony deformities that form on the side of the foot just below the big toe. Although some severe bunions may need surgery to correct them, many people find relief through the regular use of custom arch supports.
As a top-ranked orthopedics specialist in McKinney, Texas, Dominique Nickson, MD, uses state-of-the-art technology to create one-of-a-kind arch supports for patients at Next Step Orthopedics for effective, long-term relief without surgery. Here’s how arch supports work — and how they could help you find relief from your bunion pain.
Why bunions form
Bunions happen when the big toe joint moves out of its normal position, usually due to inherited foot shape and years of pressure on the big toe tip. Foot injuries and rheumatoid arthritis also increase your risk of developing a bunion.
Even though a bunion may look like a bony growth, that lump you see is part of your normal toe joint that’s been forced out of alignment. Most bunions happen when narrow or tight shoes squeeze your big toe, forcing it to point inward toward your other toes.
Ongoing pressure on your toe stresses your toe joint. Eventually, the joint becomes deformed, and a bunion forms.
Any shoe with a narrow or confining “toe box” can cause bunions. Wearing high heels regularly is another common reason for bunions to form. That’s because the sloping position of the foot forces the toes down and into a narrow area at the tip of the shoe.
Arch supports for bunion relief
Your foot arch is the curved middle part of your foot that provides flexibility and support for the rest of your foot. Even though the arch isn’t immediately connected to your big toe, it still plays a significant role in how your foot moves and flexes during walking and other activities.
Your arch is composed of tough ligaments, tendons, and other tissues designed to withstand weight-bearing activities. Still, over time, those components can wear and weaken, causing your arch to lose some of its support and shape.
As the arch flattens out, pressure shifts to the toe area of your foot — especially the big toe and outer edge of your foot. That extra pressure is all it takes to force the toe joint out of alignment, forming a painful bunion.
Wearing arch supports gives your foot the support for normal foot flexion and movement while relieving pressure on your big toe joint. Like all our orthotics, arch supports are custom-made after thoroughly evaluating your foot shape and other factors.
Relieve your bunion pain
Orthotics play a crucial role in managing bunion symptoms, but sometimes, pain persists. When that happens, Dr. Nickson often suggests outpatient surgery to reposition the toe joint and restore normal anatomy and function of the toe.