Are bunions really hereditary?
People who have bunion-like feet seem to be at an increased risk of developing painful and even debilitating conditions. Many doctors will tell you that their solution is arch support, inserts or surgery. You may be told the bunions is hereditary. But, what's the truth?
Researchers from Harvard have recently published a study on the heredity of bunions and found that it is highly among European Caucasians. 36% in over-65s are affected by this foot condition.
However, according to sports podiatrist Dr. Ray McClanahan, this study is ignoring an important factor. He says that the researchers failed to control for what footwear their subjects were wearing at any point during life and had worn over extended periods which could have impacted how much width was hereditable in these individuals feet.
Our culture has been so focused on the shape of children's and women's shoes that it is now pushing them into a bunion-causing position. Dr. Ray says this happens because our feet are getting pushed out by their pointy toes and narrow heel boxes, which forces you to walk with your toe pointing in towards yourself or else risk pain from rubbing against various surfaces as well as inflammation due increased friction along with a strictly limited range of motion. Especially women who have higher rates than men because their feet are narrower compared to masculinely shaped footwear options available today.
The contrast between the feet of traditional shod and unshod cultures is stark. The Indian research found higher rates of foot deformities among shod compared to unshod kids, while the German / South African study demonstrated that children who grow up without shoes have better movement skills and balance than those wearing them.
Traditional shoes that are both narrow and pointy aren’t good for our feet. They also have stiff soles which push the foot out of its natural alignment, and interfere with healthy development by pushing against one side only when walking or running on uneven surfaces like cobblestone paths in parks where there's no pavement to cushion the impact as you step forward momentum- putting extra pressure onto already tight muscles between your toes!
Going without shoes or with barefoot shoes can help you alleviate bunion conditions since traditional footwear isn’t shaped like feet and ends up making many people's feet look more like shoes. Barefoot footwear is an excellent way to get your feet back. It's foot-shaped, not shoe shaped and it gives you the freedom of movement that natural growth requires without restricting any muscles or joints for them to be flexible enough.