If your shoes all feel tight and walking makes you wince, bunions may be to blame (they’re more common than you think!). Discover how to get back on your feet.

Foot swelling during pregnancy

© Narong Jongsirikul/AdobeStock


I didn’t schedule an appointment with a podiatrist until the pain in my right big toe had morphed into an excruciating jolt that shot through my foot with every step I took. Diagnosis: a bunion. Surgery involving a bone saw and screws was the only lasting solution, and since I needed to be able to walk for the rest of my life, I signed up. During my four weeks of recovery, I wore a black surgical boot that required me to explain my bunion saga over and over again to strangers and friends alike. That’s when the floodgates opened. In practically every conversation I had with fellow moms—working moms, stay-at-home moms, moms of all sizes and ages—they all grimaced, stuck out one of their feet and whispered, “Ugh, I have a bunion too.” It was like we were all part of an underground Bunion Fight Club, and the first rule was “Do not mention the B-word,” because only old ladies get bunions, right?

Wrong. “Seventy percent of women will develop a bunion—a painful, bony knob at the base of the big toe—and it often starts in one’s early 20s,” says orthopedic surgeon Carol Frey, MD, director of foot and ankle surgery at West Coast Sports Medicine Foundation, in Manhattan Beach, California. The hormonal changes of pregnancy can predispose a woman to develop bunions or they can aggravate her existing ones. Read on to learn all about the bump that no mom wants to share on social media.

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