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Why surgery isn’t the only option for bunion relief

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Posted by john under Health

Do you hate that bony lump sticking out the side of your foot? But are you too scared to get surgery to fix it?

Don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to treat this common problem that don’t involve going under the knife.

Bunion blues

These unsightly bumps can occur on even the poshest of feet – Victoria Beckham is often photographed wearing sky-high stilettos with bunions poking out the side.

Oprah Winfrey, Paris Hilton and Uma Thurman are just some of the celebrities in the same boat.

So if you suffer from bunions, here’s what you need to know:

Myths about bunions

  • They are not hereditary
  • They are not caused by wearing pointy high-heeled shoes
  • They are not a bony growth

In actual fact, the lump of bone you can feel is your first metatarsal (the long bones which connect to your toes).

A bunion occurs when this entire bone moves sideways. You normally push your body weight through this bone when walking. If it moves out of alignment, the second or third metatarsal carries this weight instead, which can cause pain in the middle of your foot.

What causes bunions?

You are more likely to get a bunion if:

  • Your foot is pronated (rolls inwards when walking). Your body weight will help push the bone over towards the inside of your foot.
  • Your big toes are extra flexible

Bunions occur over time – often in your 40s or 50s. But kids as young as 10 have been known to get them too.

What does surgery involve?

A bunionectomy saws into the bone to straighten it up. It’s painful, and you can’t usually walk for up to 6 weeks afterwards.

But bunion growth can be slowed down or stopped altogether using the following treatments:

  1. Orthotics - Wearing orthotics will stabilize your foot joints. But they cannot reverse damage done, so see a podiatrist as soon as you see a bunion beginning to form.
  2. Footwear – There are many stylish shoes designed to comfortably hide bunions. Come and see us for some recommendations.
  3. Gels – We stock a range of gels to protect and cushion your feet and the bunion itself. These will help relieve the pain.

While surgery is the only way to straighten the bone once it has deformed, it won’t prevent it from happening again.

Your podiatrist will help you figure out what caused the misalignment in the first place and what you can do to prevent further issues.

Need help with your bunions?

Foot Mechanics can help reduce your bunion pain. To see a podiatrist in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Whaktane, Mount Maunganui, Rotorua, Taupo or Palmerston North, phone 0800 436 6860800 436 686 for an appointment.

Yes, your body is that smart!

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Posted by john under Health

Your body is smart. When it feels exhausted, it is exhausted and you feel like you need to rest. When it makes you thirsty, you need water, and when it tells you that one pair of shoes is more comfortable than another, it’s because the more comfortable pair fits better and allows you to walk more efficiently.

Yes, your body is that smart!

Researchers in Barcelona, Spain are looking into a range of biomechanical measures that are consistent with customer feedback of comfort when wearing different shoe designs.

Their finding could be significant as this would enable shoe designers to have their designs tested for “comfort” before proceeding to large scale manufacturing.

This research is the first of its type in the world and could have a significant impact on the future of shoe design and shoe comfort for shoe wearers.

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Why does my child roll their feet inwards when they walk?

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Posted by john under Health

Have you noticed anything strange about your child’s walk? Or do they complain about aching legs or pain in their knees, ankles or feet?

Their foot may simply have a low arch (which is no problem whatsoever) or they may suffer from pronation.

This is commonly known as ‘flat feet’ and can cause a great deal of pain for some kids.

It occurs when your foot rolls inwards and flattens your foot’s natural arch.

What causes pronation?

There’s a huge number of reasons such as:

  • Unusual joint shape or structure
  • Weak ligaments
  • Weak muscles
  • Legs that are of slightly different length

There’s often a hereditary component so flat feet might run in your family. 

Foot Mechanics podiatrists have worked all over the world and have noticed Kiwi kids are more likely to have pronation than their European counterparts who wear shoes more often than bare feet.

What will a podiatrist check for?

We frequently carry out biomechanical assessments for people of all ages to check the following:

  • Are the hip, knee and ankle joints working correctly?
  • What is the body’s natural alignment?
  • Are there any obvious difference between the two feet?
  • Is there a strange gait pattern (like having pigeon toes)?
  • What footwear is currently being worn?

Your podiatrist will also video your walk and run to analyse what’s happening in closer detail.

Is pronation a problem?

For some kids, no. Others may suffer problems such as:

  • More knee and ankle injuries when playing sport
  • Falling over a lot
  • Ongoing pain (including aching) in their legs, ankles and knees.

‘Growing pains’ are something many kids suffer from, particularly when they’re trying to go to sleep. This happens when muscles and tendons lengthen out to keep up with growing bones.

Pronation can make this process more painful as it causes misalignments in our lower limbs and our muscles have to work harder to compensate.

What can be done?

  • Buying good quality, supportive shoes are a must. Look for ones that have some stiffness in the mid and rear sections but flexibility in the toes. Leather uppers are good. If they’re stiff they will help resist that inward rolling movement.
  • Inner soles might be useful to give more support to the inner arch. Pre-fabricated ones are best when kids are young and their feet are still growing. They will typically last 1 year.

Need some help?

Is your child in pain or having trouble walking? Book an appointment with one of our podiatrists today.

We’ll also look at their current footwear and show you exactly what type of shoe to buy for your child’s specific needs.

Book an appointment at Foot Mechanics in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Mount Maunganui, Whakatane, Rotorua, Taupo or Palmerston North by phoning 0800 436 6860800 436 686.

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