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A bunion is one of the most common deformities of the foot, involving the big toe joint and resulting in a large and sometimes painful bump at the side of the foot by the big toe base.   Although most people consider bunions to be a genetic condition seen mostly in older adults, the development and treatment of bunions are in reality much more complex.

Most people who have bunions have inherited a gait that causes overpronation, or a tendency to roll their feet inward with every step. It is the pressure of bearing and shifting weight on that big toe joint that eventually causes bunions to develop.  As the toe joint gets constantly stressed and pushed out to the side, the bones and joints become misaligned, causing the bunion.

Overpronation of the foot is only the common cause of bunions.  Arthritis and trauma to the tissues surrounding the toe joint can also result in similar foot deformities so it's important to consult your health advisor to rule out other possible causes.

Although surgery may be the only solution for severe bunions that interfere with the ability to perform every tasks and athletic activities, taking a few preventive steps can help alleviate discomfort and slow down the progression of the bunion.  But a word of warning: women who are fans of Christian Louboutin won't like these suggestions:

Ditch the high heels.  Unfortunately, wearing pointy toed shoes with heels that are over 2" high will only aggravate the problem.
Choose shoes with a wide toe box that won't squeeze or cramp the toes.
Use non-medicated bunion pads to cushion the bump.
If the bunion becomes inflamed or painful, apply an ice pack to help bring down the swelling.
Consult your doctor or podiatrist who may suggest custom orthotics.
Legend has it that even Marilyn Monroe suffered from bunions.  See, you're in good company.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti-aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].
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