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Self-help measures can greatly relieve bunion pain, advises Harvard Women’s Health Watch

June 7, 2011

Many women suffer from bunions — a deformity of the joint at the base of the big toe. A bunion develops when the first metatarsal bone of the foot turns outward and the big toe angles toward the other toes, causing the joint to jut out. The resulting protrusion may rub on the inside of shoes, and the entire joint may become stiff and sore. Eventually, exercise and even walking may become difficult. But you can do a lot to relieve pain and prevent bunions from progressing. Simple measures can  relieve pressure on the joint and improve foot mechanics, reports Harvard Women’s Health Watch in its June 2011 issue.

The first step is to wear the right kind of shoe. Shoes should have a wide, flexible sole to support the foot and enough room in the toe box (the part surrounding the front of the foot) to accommodate the bunion. Shoes with a back should have a sturdy heel counter (the part surrounding the heel) to keep the heel of the foot snugly in place. Heels should be no higher than an inch (the higher the heel, the greater the pressure on the front of the foot).

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