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By Crofton Podiatry
October 11, 2018
Category: Bunion
Tags: high heels   flats   shoes   surgery   orthotic  

While the wrong types of shoes may not directly cause bunions, they can be the reason why they become worse. Long-term use of shoes that do not have the proper foot support can lead the bunion becoming larger, stiffer, and more painful.

So what actually causes bunions?

While the exact cause is unknown, it seems that genetics, injuries to the big toe joint, and excessive pressure to the forefoot causes the big toe to begin pointing toward the other toes. The bony spur develops as a response to direct pressure, improper healing, or as a support to the big toe joint.

Then what types of shoes make bunion symptoms worse?

  • High heels (higher than 2 inches) – Wearing high heels puts an extraneous strain on the forefoot, especially at the big toe joint. The extra pressure can cause inflammation and pain after even just a few minutes. Eventually, it can cause the bony spur to get bigger and more painful.
  • Narrow and/or pointed-toe shoes – While some shoes seem very fashionable and trendy by being pointy or narrow, it’s not actually the right shape for your feet. Forcing your feet to spend the day walking in narrow or pointy shoes can further force your big toe to point toward your other toes.
  • Tight shoes or shoes that are small for you - Don’t forget that your feet swell a little bit throughout the day, so it’s best to find shoes that fit you in the afternoon. Additionally, some shoes do not come in half sizes, so you may have to size up or down. Be careful with sizing down since your feet (and bunions) need space to feel comfortable.
  • Stiff, non-adjustable shoes – Shoes with elastic material, straps, or laces will allow you to adjust your shoes to comfort as the day goes on. Again, tight shoes will only make bunion symptoms worse! If your bunion becomes inflamed, you’ll want to give your feet some breathing room by adjusting them.
  • Flats – Ballerina flats and other flat shoes that do not have arch support can cause more pressure on the big toe joint. If you prefer to wear flats, try adding arch support inserts to feel more comfortable.

What is the lesson learned? If you have bunions, don’t make them worse with the wrong shoes. Try looking for footwear that is low-heeled, comfortable, roomy for your toes, supportive for your arches, and adjustable throughout the day.

Of course, those with severe bunions already should speak with our podiatrist for the best solution. You may need custom orthotic shoes to fit severely deformed feet. Surgery might even be necessary if bunions really get in the way of your life.

We can help you! Make an appointment by calling (410) 721-4505 to see our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Brad Toll at Crofton Podiatry. Come to visit our Crofton, MD office, which also serves the surrounding areas of Gambrills, Odenton, and Bowie areas.

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2411 Crofton Lane, Suite 25
Crofton, MD 21114

Podiatrist - Crofton, Crofton Podiatry, 2411 Crofton Lane, Suite 25, Crofton MD, 21114 (410) 721-4505