Feet First: Clinical Pearls for the Feet #3 and #4

Let's continue on our journey of all things foot related.

3. Bunions Are Not Fated- a better way to think about them is as a sign of osteoarthritis within your feet (this is also connected to the nature vs nurture argument of musculoskeletal development)

Weakness and stiffness in the feet create poor biomechanics that lead to bunions. As I mentioned above, the foot needs to navigate an incredible amount of forces during its daily function. If you add to that mix: running, high heel use, not training your feet, over reliance on orthotics- you have a recipe for foot dysfunction.

Bunions are one such sign of dysfunction. They represent bone growth along the medial (midline) aspect of your big toe. I have many friends (therapists too) who believe that bunions develop because of genetic predispositions. This has been only marginally established. In fact, how we move is nurtured by our family- it is one facet of the age old nature/ nurture debate. Do I develop bone conditions because of genetic coding (nature)? Or do I develop osteoarthritis because I am socialized to move like my parents- who were in turn socialized to move like their parents (nurture)?

At this point of time in medicine, most of us within the general public do not have access to change genetic factors. And when we do get that chance, I am sure medicine will enroll people with life threatening diseases first (think: Huntington’s Chorea).

But what we do have control over, is how we move. We have access to changing how we move (even in the presence of a disability) until the day we die.