Bunions — those bony bumps on the inside of your foot, at the joint of your big toe — can be painful. They’re often caused by our shoe choices, and continuing to wear the wrong shoes can make these bony projections grow bigger and more painful. Once you have a bunion, your shoe choice becomes even more important.
The bump forms when the bones that make up your big toe joint shift out of alignment. This can be caused by narrow or pointed shoes that squeeze your toes together. The bunion can make the big toe stiff and put pressure on your other toes, which can make it hard to walk. Eventually, the pressure can cause the other toes on that foot to bend as well.
The bulge of a bunion and the new shape of your feet can make your shoes more uncomfortable. Tight or narrow-toed shoes will be especially painful because they squeeze against the bunion.
Ask your doctor or podiatrist about special shoes for people with bunions. Wearing the right shoes can keep your feet comfortable and stop the bunion from getting worse.
If the bunion is small, a comfortable shoe with a roomy toe might be all you need. The shoe should be low-heeled (less than 1 or 2 inches), with enough space to fit your toes comfortably. You might have to go up a half size or more to get the right fit.
You might also want to buy a shoe with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of added depth. The extra depth gives your foot more space, which can accommodate any calluses or corns you might have on the bottom of your foot. You’ll also have space to add an insert, which supports your foot. If the bunion has left your foot very deformed, ask your podiatrist about having shoes custom-made.
Instead of buying new shoes, you might be able to modify shoes you already have. A shoe store can use a stretcher to widen the toe area of your shoes and give you a better fit. You can also add orthotics. These inserts relieve pressure on your feet and make them more comfortable.
First, visit your primary care doctor or podiatrist. The doctor will examine your bunion and recommend the right shoe.
You should be able to buy comfortable, roomy shoes at any shoe store. Many companies make shoes wide and soft enough to accommodate bunions, including The Walking Company, Orthofeet, and FootSmart. Extra-depth shoes are available in specialty shoe stores and online. If you need a custom-fitted shoe, you’ll see a specialist called an orthotist.
Medicare will cover the cost of one customized pair of shoes, including the fitting, each year. They’ll also pay for three pairs of inserts for extra-depth shoes.
Finding the right shoe is important if you have bunions. Always choose function over fashion. The shoe should have a wide enough front to comfortably fit all of your toes, and a soft sole to cushion each step.
Buy shoes made from a stretchy material, such as leather or canvas. Look for adjustable shoes with laces or a strap that you can loosen to accommodate changes in the size of your feet or bunion over time.
Avoid shoes that are pointed, narrow, or tight. You should also stay away from heels that are higher than 2 inches.
Once you have the right shoes, add one or more of the following accessories to increase your comfort.
Bunion pads: Place a moleskin, felt, or gel-filled pad over the bunion to act as a cushion. The pad will prevent your bunion from rubbing against your shoe and becoming irritated. You can buy bunion pads at your local drugstore.
Orthotics: Placing an insert inside your shoe will put your foot in a more comfortable position and relieve pressure on it. You can buy orthotics with a prescription from your podiatrist, or over the counter at a pharmacy.
Toe spacer: A silicone toe spacer placed between your big toe and second toe will help keep your toes in the proper alignment.
Arch support: Often people with bunions have flat feet and an unstable arch. Your arch is the curved area on the bottom of your foot. Over-the-counter arch supports can help correct this problem and put your feet in a more natural alignment. You can buy them over the counter or with a prescription from your doctor.
Thin, loose socks: Avoid thick or tight socks. They’ll put pressure on your bunion and cause even more pain.
Once you have the right shoe, make sure it fits. A well-fitting shoe won’t press on or rub against your bunion.
If you continue to wear uncomfortable shoes, the bunion can get bigger. You can also develop one of these complications:
- bursitis: swelling of the fluid-filled sacs called bursa, which act as cushioning between your bones
- hammer toe: toes that bend at the middle joint, causing pain
- metatarsalgia: pain and swelling in the ball of your foot
Once you have a bunion, it won’t go away unless you have surgery. Prevent it from getting larger by taking good care of your feet and wearing the right shoes.
Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
I am an expert in the topic of bunions and can provide you with information on all the concepts mentioned in this article. Bunions are bony bumps that form on the inside of your foot, specifically at the joint of your big toe. They can be painful and are often caused by wearing the wrong shoes. Continuing to wear ill-fitting shoes can make bunions grow bigger and more painful. The main cause of bunions is the shift of the bones that make up the big toe joint, which can be a result of narrow or pointed shoes that squeeze the toes together.
Once you have a bunion, it becomes even more important to choose the right shoes. The bunion can make the big toe stiff and put pressure on the other toes, making it difficult to walk. Wearing tight or narrow-toed shoes can be especially painful because they squeeze against the bunion. It is recommended to consult with a doctor or podiatrist to find special shoes for people with bunions.
If the bunion is small, a comfortable shoe with a roomy toe might be sufficient. The shoe should be low-heeled (less than 1 or 2 inches) and have enough space to fit your toes comfortably. You might need to go up a half size or more to find the right fit. Additionally, you may consider buying a shoe with added depth (1/4 to 1/2 inch) to accommodate any calluses or corns on the bottom of your foot. This extra space can also allow for the use of inserts that support your foot. In cases where the bunion has caused significant deformity, custom-made shoes can be recommended by a podiatrist.
If you already have shoes that you like but they don't fit properly, you can have a shoe store stretch the toe area or add orthotics to relieve pressure and increase comfort. There are also various brands and stores that offer bunion-friendly shoes, such as The Walking Company, Orthofeet, and FootSmart. Extra-depth shoes can be found in specialty shoe stores and online.
When looking for shoes for bunions, it is important to prioritize function over fashion. The shoe should have a wide enough front to comfortably fit all of your toes and a soft sole to cushion each step. It is recommended to choose shoes made from stretchy materials like leather or canvas and look for adjustable shoes with laces or straps that can be loosened to accommodate changes in foot size or bunion shape over time. Pointed, narrow, and tight shoes should be avoided, as well as heels higher than 2 inches.
In addition to choosing the right shoes, there are accessories that can increase your comfort. Bunion pads, made of moleskin, felt, or gel-filled material, can be placed over the bunion to act as a cushion and prevent rubbing against the shoe. Orthotics, which are inserts placed inside the shoe, can provide a more comfortable foot position and relieve pressure. Toe spacers can help keep the toes in proper alignment, and arch supports can correct flat feet and provide a more natural foot alignment.
To ensure a proper fit, it is important to make sure the shoe fits well and does not press on or rub against the bunion. Neglecting to wear comfortable shoes can lead to complications such as bursitis, hammer toe, and metatarsalgia. It is important to take good care of your feet and wear the right shoes to prevent the bunion from getting larger.
Remember, if you have a bunion that causes significant pain or interferes with your daily activities, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment options.
I hope this information helps! Let me know if you have any further questions.