So you found a cute pair of heels – on sale. But they’re a tad bit too tight. And the store doesn’t have the shoes in a bigger size. Oh well, you think, I’ll get them any way. They’ll stretch. But did you know that you can develop bunions from wearing shoes that are too tight?
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), over half of American women have bunions; and these bunions often develop from wearing shoes that are too tight. In fact, the AAOS estimates 9 out of 10 bunions occur in women; and 9 out of 10 women wear shoes that are too tight.
A bunion is an enlargement at the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP), the joint at the base of your big toe. When your big toe is bent or pushed up against your other toes due to wearing shoes that are too tight, an abnormal, bony bump can form at the MTP joint on the outer portion of the foot. This bump is caused when the MTP joint is moved out of alignment in the opposite direction of your big toe. Over time, this abnormal angle causes the joint to continue to enlarge. If it’s not treated, the skin over the join may become red as the joint becomes painful.
Once you’ve developed a bunion, wearing any type of shoe can be painful and it may hurt as you walk. Over time bursitis may set in the joint and your toes may move out of alignment, making your foot look deformed. When your bunion becomes really severe, it may become difficult to walk; and eventually you may develop arthritis.
If you’re suffering from bunions, see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Treatment may vary depending on the severity of your bunion. The primary goals of treatment are to reduce the pain and pressure on the bunion and to keep it from causing the joint to deform. Treatment may include:
- Padding and taping – You can place a non-medicated pad around the bunion to reduce pain. You can also tape your foot to keep it in a normal position to reduce stress on the foot and pain.
- Ice – You can apply ice packs several times a day to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Activity restrictions – You should avoid activities that cause pain like walking or standing for long time periods.
- Medication – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, can reduce pain and inflammation. Cortisone injections may also help. But these treatments only provide temporary relief.
- Orthotics – Shoe inserts, like ezWalker® Performance Insoles, can help relieve, and in some cases, eliminate pain and reduce the symptoms of bunions. These custom insoles strategically support your medial, lateral and trans-metatarsal arches, helping to relieve any pressure on the balls of your feet. The biomechanical design of ezWalker® arch supports enhance the position of your feet by supporting the hind foot in a way that realigns your forefoot for the propulsion phase of the gait cycle. This redistributes pressure as you walk, and therefore, helps prevent the worsening of the deformity.
- Surgery – In severe cases, you may need surgery to realign your big toe to its correct position.
To prevent bunions from even occurring, you should never wear shoes that don’t fit. When shopping for shoes, you should:
- Choose shoes that conform to the shape of your feet.
- Avoid shoes that have pointed toes or are too short or tight for your feet.
- Look for shoes with wide toe boxes that are comfortable on your feet.
- Stay away from high heels. Look for shoes with heels that are no higher than 2 inches.
- Learn how to correctly fit your shoes to the arch length of your feet and not your toe length.
It’s not fun to suffer from the pain of bunions, but with proper prevention and treatment, you can find pain relief. For more information on ezWalker® Performance Insoles or to order your pair, visit our website.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.