It is that time of year again. . . winter. For many this is a dreadful time. Beach days at the Jersey Shore are replaced with bundling up in layers and staying in until forced to take dreadful steps outside. In preparation for those brutally cold walks (especially here in State College) it also means that you definitely switched over from open-toed flip-flops to close-toed snow boots. I know I did. For this reason, I found it especially concerning to see an article about bunions and snow boots. Not only am I being forced (by the weather) to wear these heavy boots, but they might also cause bunions too?
According to Robert Preidt, winter shoes have a causal relationship in causing bunions. For those unaware, a bunion is a bony bump that forms at the joint of the big toe. The only way to completely get rid of a bunion is through surgery, other than that there are only treatments. Bunions form from winter shoes because many winter shoes are narrow, therefore when the big toe rubs against the material of the shoe, inflammation occurs. To prevent this, it is important to purchase shoes that are considered wide for your foot. Moreover, one can purchase padding for shoes in order to decrease irritation.
Perhaps you do indeed get a bunion this winter, how can you determine the best remedy to treat your bunion? There are numerous treatments but I am only going to focus on two of the non-surgical treatments. The Cleveland Clinic advises that to remedy the pain of a bunion, a person purchase either a gel-filled pad or a shoe insert, but which one is best? To answer this question, one could perform an experimental study. A large group of participants with bunions could be randomly assigned. One half of the participants with a gel-filled pad and the other half the shoe inserts. Then the participants could live a week with these remedies and keep a log of how they feel at the end of each day in terms of pain from one to five (five being most painful). At the end of the trial the participants would then be questioned about whether or not they felt that they remedy they were assigned was effective or not and an average of the scores could be tallied. This in turn could help determine which is a better, non-surgical remedy. Of course, confounding variables in this particular study can be identified. For instance, if a person has a serious bunion that should actually be surgically removed, they might rate the remedy they were assigned poorly. The null hypothesis of this theoretical study is that there will be no difference in each of the two types of remedy. On the contrary, the alternative hypothesis is that there is a difference and one of the remedies is better than the other. Since there are many remedies to bunions, I suspect that if this study were to actually take place, there would not be a statistically significant result from this study and the null hypothesis would prove to be correct.
All in all, the true cure that would be most significant in relieving bunion pain is surgery. With this being said, it is important to make sure this upcoming winter you purchase the right shoe for your foot to ensure you never have to deal with the pain of developing a bunion. To do this, research winter boots before you purchase them.