The Daily Mail recently did a lovely spread of celebrity bunions, headed up by the flawless Amal Clooney. Well, flawless except for her bunions. As someone who didn’t know what a bunion was, and therefore only realised they had them about two weeks ago, I thought it’d be pertinent to compile a short and succinct fact sheet as to what a bunion is, what to do with it, and how to make it go away. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as a verucca (something I also keep getting. I am so fit).
What is a bunion?
It’s a deformity of the joint, meaning your foot shape changes and a sort of lump appears. Except it isn’t actually a lump, because lumps are soft – this is hard and feels like your foot.
If it’s on the outside, your little toe will start curling under the other toes, and may start looking properly freaky. If it’s on the inside, your big toe will start curling towards your other toes and your entire foot will look freaky.
How can I stop them happening?
Nobody knows why they happen, so it’s difficult to advise on this. Women get them more than men, so it’s thought that it could be something to do with heels or uncomfortable fashion-y shoes – but, because nobody knows, it might also be down to the moon. Or seeing two magpies.
They appear to run in families, though, which means they might be genetic, and people with really flexible joints are also way more likely to get them. So if you’re double jointed, watch out for bunions.
What can I do when I get them?
If they’re not that noticeable, you can try those bunion pads which protects it from further rubbing, and stops it from getting all calloused and gross. You can also buy shoe inserts to correct the position of your foot to minimise the bunion getting bigger/getting more bunions. Is anyone else visualising onions whenever they read the word ‘bunions’? Sure, just me. Sure. You can also wear a splint at night to help realign the toe.
Basically, there isn’t a magic quick-fix and the only way to truly get rid of them is to have surgery. Especially if they’re painful, because they could start causing a whole host of other problems. Think about it, to stop feeling the pain, you’ll be walking slightly differently which throws your whole posture out of whack which, in turn, can cause damage all over your body.
Does surgery hurt?
Yeah, of course, but you’ll get anaesthetic and it’s worth it if you’re in pain all the time. There are about 150 different types of bunion surgery, but surgeons use the same 12 or so methods, the most common of which are day procedures (you won’t need to spend the night at the hospital).
An osteotomy is where they remove the swollen lump and realign the toe bone. An excision removes the entire joint, and they create a false joint with scar tissue that forms because of the operation (fun). You can also get mininmally invasive bunion treatment where someone fixes it using a long thin wire with a camera on it and makes tiny incisions to sort out the toe. You'll have to be in a cast for a bit, but you won’t have any bunions anymore! Fun.
I DON’T WANT SURGERY!!!
You don’t have to have it. Most bunions never cause problems, it’s only the few cases that start to cause discomfort that will need surgery – and by that stage, you’ll be well up for surgery, due to the pain. So until then, celebrate your bunion. Draw a little face on it. Buy it a nice dress. Call it Liam. Whatever you want.
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Illustration: Laura Heckford
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.