There are so many wonderful things your parents can pass on to you: stocks, fine china, a condo at the beach...but what about bunions? Yep, that is right, bunions. An enlarged, boney bump on the big toe side of the foot, that can cause pain and difficulty fitting in shoes, is called a bunion. I know what you are thinking..."aren't those caused by shoes?" The answer is no. Bunions or hammertoes (contracted, arched toes) are not CAUSED by shoes. Now the symptoms, (meaning redness, pain etc.) can be worsened by ill-fitting shoes, but the cause is something much less preventable.
Genetics determine our hair color, eye color and the way we walk, among other things. If you just so happen to be made with a flatter foot you increase your chances for developing hammertoes and bunions in the future.
So what can you do to avoid having feet like your grandmother? Are you doomed? No, you are not doomed. There are things that you can do to slow the process and treat it if you already have the signs and symptoms of these conditions. There are devices called orthotics, (custom molded shoe inserts that are provided by a foot doctor) that can change the way you walk and thereby limit or even prevent hammertoes and bunions. Wearing shoes that do not cause increased friction and rubbing on the toes and joints will help to limit your pain, but it will not slow this process down in any way. Finally, surgery is the treatment IF you have bunions and hammertoes that are painful for you everyday. Only you and your foot doctor can decide what is best for you and your feet.
As far as your grandmother is concerned, give her a call, she misses you!
Committed to your health,
Dr. Craig Conti
Sarasota Foot Care Center