This is the usual image when someone says bunions. However, the image and the thought of large lumps on the side of your foot is not always what really happens.
As a general rule of thumb, if your bunion has stayed that way for many years then it is likely to stay that way will little growth.On the other hand, if your bunion seems to grow by the day then there is a possibility (a much higher one) that it will increase.
Predominantly women, however men can get them as well. This then raises the issue of footwear being a possible cause, (however as seen below) this is not the case.
Maybe more people have got bunions because of the overuse of poor footwear putting the foot into a position favorable to the mechanics that cause the problem in the first place. But that is a gray area. But when I see a greater number of younger adults, especially girls having the problem plus wearing poor style shoes, then this theory actually plays out.
Any age can be affected, whilst you tend to see bunions more so in the elderly, this is possibly because of other illnesses coming into play causing the toe deformity.
To be quite honest there is no real exact cause, but many different causes that add up to create the right environment for a bunion to proliferate. Here are the following main causes:
Inherited Foot Function. You inherit a foot function from your parents. You tend to find bunion sufferers have family members that also have the issue (direct parents or grandparents). Now this doesn't mean that you will get the same feet as them, it just means that there is a greater likeliness.
The foot function is called excessive pronation. When we walk, our feet collapse very quickly to adjust to terrain and then rapidly strengthen to push us away from that terrain- being executed at exactly the same time in each foot step. The collapsing event is called pronation and the strengthening is called supination.
Now if we have excessive of anything, the collapsing or strengthening effect will last longer than it is supposed to do- which then over uses tiny muscles, strengthens powerful muscles and our foot then becomes affected and that excessive effect is the trigger to start many foot problems.
A Round Toe Bone. Now most bones come together in a joint and the bones themselves are not straight and they are not round, they are a bit of both- perfect structure. Now if your big toe bones are rounded, then you have a greater susceptibility to bunions.
Myth: Shoes. There is a common myth that shoewear is the main cause. But the problem is, is that they do not. Researchers monitored and evaluated tribes in Africa who wore no shoes. They too had that little bony lump on their big toes. Shoes do cause secondary problems like rubbing and callus. And heels cause the shortening of calf muscles which in turn, cause excessive pronation.
Some Illnesses. Unfortunately there are conditions which give us a poorer mechanic to the foot and some which causes joint changes which totally throws out the internal workings. The main one of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This condition causes a subluxation (dislocation) of the toe joint and can cause the worst looking bunion foot. This is where you can get the big toe going under all other toes.