Can Bunions Cause Knee Pain?

can bunions cause knee painA bunion is a problem with the bones of your feet, specifically the big toe. But what you might not realize is that a bunion does not just affect your foot. Your body is an entirely connected unit, so when something goes wrong with your foot, your entire body shifts to compensate. Put simply, can bunions cause knee pain? Yes. Read on to discover why, and what you can do about it.

What is a bunion?

The biggest symptom of a bunion is when your big toe starts to point towards the rest of the toes on that same foot. Over time, this can cause the bones that your toe is attached to bow outwards, forming a painful lump or ridge along the outside edge of your foot.

Other symptoms that may occur also include callused skin on or around your big toe or second toe, particularly when they overlap.

The sore skin over the bunion itself, where it rubs on shoes.

Pain and swelling on or around the big toe itself.

Changes to foot shape that make wearing and buying walking shoes difficult.

The strange thing is when it comes to bunion causes; science draws a blank. It has theorized that it may be genetic in some regard because bunions also found in siblings. Bunions are also more likely to appear in people who are flexible, perhaps because it allows the big toe to move more freely.

You also find bunions in people with bone conditions, for example, gout and rheumatoid arthritis. It is why you can find bunions, with a higher instance, amongst older people.

How to prevent bunions?

Caused by constriction of the feet, specifically your big toe, the simplest way to prevent bunions is to wear shoes that give your feet adequate room to move around and breathe.

You should be looking for shoes with a deep and wide toe box, so there is no pressure on your toes at all, especially sideways pressure constricting your toes together.

You should also look for shoes that have good arch support, and prevent your feet from rolling inwards as you walk because these things can also contribute to increased pressure on your toes.

How can bunions cause knee pain?

Studies show that as many as one in three adults has bunions and that adults with bunions are far more likely to experience pain in parts of their body as varied as their knees, hips, lower back, and other foot.

The reason for this is the altered gait caused trying to compensate for the bunion and the pain it is causing you.

Like we said earlier, your body is a complicated system, designed to work in harmony. And when you introduce something into that system that throws everything off, it makes the whole system fall out of a concert.

Imagine you are driving your car, and one wheel is just slightly egg-shaped. Imagine how rough the ride would be. It is a similar concept.

So when you get a bunion that is severe enough to affect your walking, you are going to move and stand differently. It will put increasing stress on other joints, usually the knees or hips, that will twist awkwardly and take the excess strain to compensate for the lack of force put on your foot.

Over time, the undue strain on your joints causes problems, whether that is something relatively minor like inflammation or something more severe like joint issues.

Long story short, if you’ve got a bunion, go to your doctor. The “soon” is far better than the “later”. The earlier it is caught, the easier it is to treat.

Like we said earlier, sometimes a bunion can be dealt with just by changing your footwear and becoming aware of how you stand and how you put pressure on your feet. But the longer you leave it, the less the chances of this, and the higher the chance that you will need corrective surgery in the future.  

As always, if you are having problems, we recommend seeing your doctor. Self-diagnosing is always difficult, and there is a risk you could do more harm than good.

Can Bunions Cause Knee Pain?: Yes

Hopefully, now you understand what bunions are and what they do, and we’ve answered your question. Can bunions cause knee pain? They can, as well as hip and back pain, and more, if left to get worse. So if you’ve got a bunion, please, see your podiatrist.

If you’ve ever had a bunion, and you’ve got any tips and tricks for treatment and management, let us know in the comments below. That knowledge could help someone currently suffering.

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