Where’d she get those bunions from? She got ’em from her mama

Looking for someone to blame for your red, calloused bunions that keep you from wearing towering peep-toes? Search no further than your family tree, because it's very likely that the bony deformity is a hereditary condition.

While it's true that ill-fitting shoes, imbalanced landing mechanics, playing sports and dancing can exacerbate bunions – and perhaps even be a main cause in certain cases – research suggests that bunions are the result of a flaw in the metatarsal joint, pointing to genetic causation.

However, don't fret – and certainly don't stop sending your mother birthday cards – because there are many non-invasive ways to treat your bunions or hammer toe without going through that ghastly operation. Bunion surgery is known to cause scarring and can potentially lead to bunion recurrence, infection or an over-correction that may be even more unsightly than your original problem. Moreover, the procedure can cost as much as $4,000 and may not be covered under all insurance plans, which could make a major dent in your shoe budget.

So, what should you do about your unwanted inheritance? Bunion splints and orthotics are good options, since they correct the bony deformity gradually and without scalpels and anesthesia. In order to get the best of both worlds, you may want to try using the Bunion Aid by Alpha Orthotics when you're sleeping or lounging at home, and try the maker's Splayfoot/Hammer Toe Insole during the day. The splint will work to hold the metatarsal bone in place, reversing the bunion's progression, while the daytime orthotic can help distribute pressure evenly on the foot, taking some stress off of the big toe joint.

For immediate relief of bunion pain, consider taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), like aspirin or ibuprofen. The medications can help to alleviate discomfort while also reducing redness and inflammation. Additionally, icing or padding bunions can help numb pain and provide a barrier for rubbing, respectively.

Remember that while your mother or grandmother may have given you bunions, they are dealing with much worse conditions than you, since the deformity advances with age. As a result, maybe you should consider bunion splints or orthotics for a great Christmas or Mother's Day gift.