Individuals who have bunions may be more likely than the general population to experience knee and hip problems later in life, sometimes necessitating joint replacement surgery.
A study conducted at the University of Olso in Norway suggests that programs to improve walking skills may result in more successful hip replacement outcomes.
“Physical therapy, particularly exercises that increase strength and improve walking, is a major component of patient rehabilitation following hip arthroplasty,” said lead author Kristi Elisabeth Heiberg, a Ph.D. candidate.
According to a model developed by researchers at Stanford University, the hips, knees, ankles and metatarsophalangeal joints are all interconnected. Since bunions are a condition affecting the first metatarsophalangeal joint – the one at the big toe – the bony foot deformities may be the cause of many problems afflicting the lower extremity.
These findings suggest that bunion correction may nip multiple problems in the bud. Moreover, non-invasive methods of bunion treatment, such as bunion splints or orthotics, may help individuals reduce the appearance of bony deformities without bunion surgery.