It’s really that simple. If we look after our feet, they can help us return great mobility and function to the entire body. When we insist on wearing shoes that are not the shape of a natural foot, like anything your feet will start to take the shape of the mould it is placed in. I am always amazed when people tell me that their bunions are genetic, when actually they are the result of poor biomechanics and bad choices in footwear.
Just remember that when our big toe turns inward towards the other toes (valgus toe), you will start to load the joint just below the toe and this is what causes a bunion to form over time. Normally a bunion is accompanied by a collapsed foot arch, which in turn creates a medial displacement of the knee, meaning the knee turns into the midline of the body on movement and creates pain in the knee joint. Over time this will lead to a pathology in the knee joint. I always say that if your knee is starting to hurt, you either have a problem with your feet or hips or both.
So let’s start by changing our footwear to shoes that resemble a foot, meaning they have a lot of toe space. Also try finding shoes that don’t have a huge amount of support as this will often make the muscles of the foot and ankle lazy because they are not able to work through their proper range of movement, and be aware of shoes that have the heel above the toe (including many sports shoes) as this stops you feeling the ground below which is important for the body above to respond too. Higher at the back of the shoe also shortens the calve muscles, which in turn can create back issues.
Merrell offer a great range of barefoot shoes that will allow your feet to move the way they were designed. There are also other barefoot shoe companies out there but I prefer the Merrell. (personal choice)