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What Puts You Most at Risk of Developing Bunions?

What Puts You Most at Risk of Developing Bunions?

There’s no getting around it; bunions on your feet are unsightly to look at, make it harder to find shoes you love that fit, can cause extreme pain, and sometimes limit your mobility. If you have family members or friends with bunions, you’re probably wondering how to reduce your risk of developing them yourself.

You can’t always avoid getting bunions, but Thomas Rambacher, DPM, FACFAS, FAPWCA, a board-certified podiatrist at Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle in Mission Viejo, California, is here to explain how you can mitigate your risk. Find out the top risk factors for developing bunions and what you can do if they interfere with your life.

Understanding bunions

Bunions are large bumps that can form at the bottom of your big toe. Typically, bunions grow slowly, so you often start noticing a small bump emerging, which gets bigger over time.

Initially, bunions sometimes only look unattractive, but they can cause greater alignment problems in your foot when they get bigger. Large bunions push your large toe inward toward your other toes, causing changes in how the structure of the foot, including the bones and ligaments in your toes.

These changes are often painful and can cause your foot to swell and develop calluses. It’s also more difficult to find shoes that fit your feet.

The top risk factors for getting bunions

Several factors increase the likelihood you’ll develop bunions. These include:


Unfortunately, your family history has a large and unavoidable component in whether you’ll get bunions. 70% of people who have bunions also have family members with bunions.

If bunions run in your family, you can still reduce your risk of developing bunions by carefully choosing supportive shoes.


You’re more likely to develop bunions if you consistently wear shoes that are too snug in the toe box or tight, high-heeled shoes. Wearing shoes with a wider toe box that fit your feet well and limiting how often you wear and walk in high heels lower your risk.

Being female

Women have bunions more frequently than men. This might be because they’re more likely to wear high-heeled shoes.

Foot problems

You’re at greater risk for developing bunions if you have structural abnormalities or deformities in your feet or legs. 

Bunion treatment options

If you’ve started to develop bunions, you can lower your risk of them growing bigger and causing alignment issues if you begin conservative treatment early with Dr. Rambacher. Conservative treatment includes wearing supportive shoes with a wide toe box, custom orthotics, and medication or corticosteroid injections to help reduce any pain.

Surgery is often the best option to eliminate bunions when your feet are out of alignment with bunions, or conservative methods haven’t worked. Several different minimally invasive surgeries eliminate bunions, and Dr. Rambacher chooses the best option for you based on a personalized consultation.

To choose the best procedure, Dr. Rambacher considers several factors, including the type of bunions you have, your age, lifestyle, and goals for the surgery. You can be assured your customized surgery gives you the best opportunity for a full recovery and the ability to live the lifestyle you had before developing severe bunions.

With the right prevention methods or personalized treatment, bunions don’t have to take over your life. Contact us now to discuss your options for bunion treatment and care.

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