Do Bunions Get Worse with Age?
posted: Mar. 28, 2023.
Bunions can get worse with age due to a broad range of factors. Understanding those factors and how to mitigate them can slow down the development of bunions.
What are bunions?
Bunions are bony bumps that form at the base of the big toe. They develop when the bones of the big toe and the foot misalign, causing a protrusion of the big toe's joint bone.
What causes bunions?
Bunions are caused by risk factors like heredity, choice of footwear, disease, and foot mechanics. These risk factors can have a more significant impact as the body ages, with some, like diseases, becoming more pronounced in the older years.
So, do bunions get worse with age?
Here are some factors that might contribute to worsening bunions with age.
Age-related Bunion Risk Factors
Prolonged foot stress
Over time, the feet undergo wear and tear and stress-related strain, reducing the overall foot integrity and making the feet more prone to deformity.
Age-related weight increases can contribute to the worsening of bunions. With additional weight, the foot arch can become depressed, causing flat feet, which scientists believe contributes to bunions' formation. Additionally, weight gain can put more pressure on the feet, leading to foot deformities like bunions.
Natural foot changes
As the body ages, the toes spread out more, which can change the foot mechanics and put more pressure on specific parts of the foot, leading to the formation or worsening of bunions. Flat foot is another age-related change that can influence the worsening of bunions.
Age-related diseases like diabetes and arthritis can also contribute to the worsening of bunions. For diabetes, peripheral neuropathy can make it challenging to notice pressure on the feet, which can worsen bunions. Similarly, arthritis can cause joint deformations, worsening bunions and making them more prominent and painful.
How To Avoid Bunions as You Age
While it is not entirely possible to prevent bunions or stop them from worsening with age, you can take steps to manage them.
Here are the steps podiatrists recommend:
Prompt treatment: Prompt bunion treatment can help prevent them from worsening with age. Your podiatrist may suggest a change of footwear, orthotics, or minimally invasive surgery.
Weight management: Weight gain negatively affects the foot structures because of increased pressure. Managing your weight can reduce the stress on your feet as you age.
Activity levels: Staying active is great for weight management; it also helps keep the feet mobile, flexible and strong, all factors that can slow down bunions.
Shoe choices: Shoe choices will always determine how quickly bunions worsen. Always pick comfortable shoes and only wear (uncomfortable) stylish shoes occasionally.
Continuing foot care: Take care of your feet by inspecting them often, visiting a podiatrist periodically for a medical examination, and adding foot care routines to your day.
Disease treatment: Effective management of diseases like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can help slow down the worsening of bunions with age.
Like most conditions, bunions worsen with age when left unattended. However, if you collaborate closely with your podiatrist to maintain a healthy-foot lifestyle, you can slow down or prevent bunions from worsening with age.