Who brought you that bright red toy fire engine for Christmas? Who put the dollar under your pillow when you lost your last baby tooth? Where do babies come from? Where do bunions come from? To the surprise of kids everywhere (and maybe a few adults), the correct answer to all these questions is “Mommy and Daddy.”
(Actually, that’s not entirely true, but we’ll get to that in a moment.)
What we do mean is that bunion development has a strong genetic component. Did your mother and grandmother have bunions? How about your dad? (Bunions are much rarer in men, but they do happen from time to time.) We hate to break it to you, but there’s a good chance you will, too.
The main idea here is that certain types of walking styles and foot structures are much more prone to bunion formation. By and large, you get those things from your DNA. If mom or dad passes on a foot structure that places extra pressure on the big toe joint—for example, flat feet—you might find that they (rather than, say, Santa) have given you a bunion as an unwelcome present.
But before we go any further, we have a confession to make—we might have oversimplified things a little bit.
Yes, inherited foot structures are strongly linked to bunions. In fact, many podiatrists would say that an underlying structural flaw is a required prerequisite for the condition. But you can’t blame it all on mom and dad. Your lifestyle habits and behaviors can play a role, too.
Do you have an addiction to stuffing your feet into narrow shoes? Cramming all your toes into a tight little triangle? Hoisting your heels four inches into the air? Poor footwear choices can, at the very least, turn a potential bunion into a real one, and a real one into a “really, really bad one” in record time. Other contributing causes might include injuries, arthritis, or certain neuromuscular or connective tissue disorders.
Bunions are certainly frustrating, but they don’t have to control your life. Whether you’ve been dealing with bunion pain for decades or you just noticed a bump on your toes this morning, stop in and see Dr. Sanjay Patel to discuss your care options. You can schedule at our offices in either Milford or Hamden by calling (203) 876-7736.