Are Your Shoes Making Your Bunions Worse?


While unsupportive shoes don’t necessarily cause bunions, they might be the reason that they are getting worse. Some shoes are even shaped in a way that seems to help the bunion become more prominent! Let us explain.

Bunions definitely have some genetic correlation. If your mother had bunions, it’s likely that you will develop them too. Beyond that, you might develop bunions after an injury that might cause a bony spur to develop.

But shoes are not necessarily the cause, but rather, a contributor. Some shoes are not foot friendly because of their high price of fashion. Consider these features that can make bunions worse (and more painful!):

●       Pointy shoes – If you look at people with bunions, the bony spur sticks out, and as a result, pushes the big toe to point towards the smaller toes. Wearing pointy shoes can further encourage your feet to maintain or exaggerate that shape.

●       High heels – Women who wear high heels for long periods during the day can testify that the balls of their feet and their plantar fascia ache at the end of the night. It’s like standing on tiptoes all day! Putting all that pressure on the big toe joint can cause a bony spur to develop as a protective measure. As a consequence, over time your bunion grows and you may no longer fit into those cute high heels.

●       Flats – You would think that these would have the opposite effect and therefore be better alternatives to high heels. In some cases, yes, but in most cases, no. Many fashion (flats) are not designed with support in mind. Flats with no arch support can put pressure on your feet to overpronate and put more pressure on the inside of your feet. That means more pressure on the big toe joint, and consequently, your bunions grow.

●       Shoes that don’t fit – If you have shoes that are too narrow, too tight, or way too loose, your feet will also suffer. The narrow and tight shoes will cause pressure or friction on your big toe joint and a bony spur might develop. On the other hand, if shoes are too big, your big toe joint might have to work harder to stabilize your foot inside the shoes. That overwork can cause inflammation and eventually, a bony spur.

While your shoes are not out to get you, they may not necessarily be your friends. If you MUST wear some shoes for one reason (work) or another (they are just so darn fashionable), try to limit the time that you spend in shoes with the abovementioned properties. To improve the supportive features, try adding orthotic inserts. For example, flats might be good for your feet, as long as you have an orthotic insert for arch support.

If you have noticed your bunions getting larger or more painful, make an appointment with us at The Podiatry Group in Jonesboro, AR. Our team of dedicated podiatrists can perform a thorough assessment and treatment plan to help your feet heal. Call (800)737-3668 today to get started!