Bunions can be a real pain in the foot
August 2, 1997
Web posted at: 10:04 p.m. EDT (0204 GMT)
From Correspondent Linda Ciampa
ATLANTA (CNN) -- Tracie Paul is following in her mother's
footsteps -- she's developing bunions.
A bunion is a deformity of the big toe that develops into a
painful bump on the side of the foot. And while they're not
actually hereditary, people do pass along a foot shape prone
to developing them.
Tight, high-heeled, pointed shoes can pull toes together,
stress ligaments and trigger a bunion.
"Certain people are predisposed to it," Dr. Erroll Bailey of
Emory University said. "Wearing ill-fitted shoes just
predisposes you even more."
Doctors advise bunion-sufferers to exchange high heeled,
pointed shoes for more sensible low-heeled ones with a more
They also offer other tips:
- Shop for shoes late in the day when feet are slightly swollen, so the shoes are wide enough.
- Insert special cushions in shoes for more comfort and support.
- Substitute low-impact workouts such as swimming or biking for high-impact sports such as running.
But these measures may not be enough to alleviate the
trouble. Like Marie-Ann Bauer, you may need surgery.
She described her pain this way: It feels "like when someone
takes and sticks a very, very sharp knife or poker in the
side of your foot."
To alleviate the pain in her right foot, doctors broke the
bone to her big toe and realigned her foot. While Bauer spent
a few days on crutches, she was out of her cast and walking
within three weeks.
"It's like having a whole new foot," she said.
The best advice for foot health: Buy the right shoes and do
the right type of exercise. If the pain persists, talk to a
doctor. More than likely, relief is just a few steps away.
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