There’s actually some disagreement over what causes bunions—that is, whether an underlying structural defect (often inherited) in your feet must be present first, or if bad shoes can cause them on their own.
Regardless of the ultimate answer to that question, though, in practice both genetic and lifestyle factors tend to be present in most cases. Bunions do tend to run in families, and flawed foot structure (commonly inherited from a parent or grandparent) may place extra stress at the base of the big toe joint, eventually leading to the distinctive deformity. At the same time, footwear that crams toes together in tight spaces or pushes all your weight onto the front portion of your foot can at least catalyze the formation of a bunion, or rapidly accelerate its progression.
If you notice a bunion forming, lay off the heels and pointed flats and give Dr. Corey Fox a call at 516-541-9000. Early intervention with conservative measures is the key to preventing large, painful bunions that require surgery.