Are Your Favorite Shoes Putting You at Risk for Bunions?

There are several factors that can increase your risk, such as the shape of your arch or even heredity. But in some cases, foot pain and deformities like bunions often come down to spending too much time in that favorite pair of high heels, or ill-fitting shoes that might look good but offer little support for your feet.
 

Worst Offenders: Shoes that Can Increase Your Risk of Getting Bunions

 

It might be hard for many people to accept, but wearing high heels - fashionable and stylish as they might be - can increase the risk of foot injuries and problems like bunions. Heels tend to put excessive pressure on the balls of the feet, and crowd the toes in a tight and confined space for hours at a time. This isn't just painful and uncomfortable - it can cause inflammation of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, and result in the familiar bony protrusion at the base of the big toe. And in addition to crowding your toes, high heels may not offer adequate levels of support for people with problems like low arches or flat feet.
 
But high heels are not the only footwear offenders. Believe it or not, even sneakers (yes really) can put your feet at risk for developing a bunion. Sneakers with a narrow, tapered toebox can also crowd the toes and increase the risk of developing a bunion over time. Once a bunion develops, shoes that used to fit comfortably may feel tight and cause friction between the bunion and the shoe, causing redness, blisters, corns, and calluses.
 

Dress (your feet) for Your Foot Type and Activity Levels

 

Overpronators and people with low arches or flat feet need additional arch support to prevent foot and ankle problems, so any shoe that doesn't offer adequate support and stability can potentially increase the risk of injuries over time. You may love to walk around in your favorite pair of flip flops during the warm summer months for example, but your feet may end up paying the price down the line.
 
For the best protection and comfort while walking, running, and exercising, choose sneakers that provide adequate room for the toes to move freely, and consider going up half a size if it helps to increase space in the toebox. Running and walking sneakers designed for people with low arches are built to provide extra support for the arches as well.
 
While you don't necessarily have to get rid of or swear off high heels forever, alternate between heels and more supportive shoes, and pay attention to signs and symptoms like pain, swelling, tenderness or stiffness, and difficulty walking or moving your feet and toes as you normally would. Try to avoid shoes that are narrow and crowd the toes. Sometimes you won't be able to tell how tight a pair of shoes will feel until you try them on and walk in them for a while, so make sure that the shoe fits before you buy it.
 
Don't Ignore Foot Pain
 
Pain is usually the first sign of an injury, so if you feel pain or other symptoms that don't go away on their own or with conservative treatment like rest or icing after a few days, see a podiatrist to be on the safe side.
 
Podiatrist in Clifton, NJ
 
You can always send us a message if you have any questions or schedule an appointment online, or call 973-315-5555 for more information.
Author
Dr. Petkov Dr. Velimir Petkov, is a trusted podiatrist practicing at Premier Podiatry in Clifton, NJ. He has over 10 years of experience treating residents of NYC and North NJ for a wide variety of foot and ankle conditions. He prides himself on practicing podiatry with a personalized approach. Patients of Dr. Petkov appreciate his willingness to spend time with them during appointments, educate them about their foot conditions, and provide customized treatment options.

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