Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What Shoes Are Good For My Bunion?

As podiatrists, we've seen it before. Women come hobbling into the office and tell us they can't stand the pain from their bunion any longer. They plead with us, "Make this pain go away!". And we are more than happy to help, of course. During our consultation, I will often look at the patient's shoes and what I see gives me podiatric nightmares.
High heels. Stilettos. Pointy-toed shoes. Too-tight shoes. Too-small shoes. Yes, these are all shoes that will aggravate a bunion, yet my patients with bunions don't seem to realize the damage they are doing.
While bunions are not caused by the shoes you put on your foot, if you already have a bunion, you will be helping the deformity to progress much quicker. Here's why your favorite shoes are causing your bunion to get bigger:
  • Tight shoes. Peep-toe and pointed-toe shoes are bunion's best friends! The tight and small toe box compresses toes together and leads to a slight or severe realignment of the big toe, which is a bunion. Try this: take your hand, and with your other hand, squish your fingers together. Now hold it there for 8 hours. How do your fingers, especially your thumb, feel after that? Probably not so good.
  • High heels. Yes, we know, high heels make you feel sexy and feminine. How does that bunion make you feel? Still sexy? It's certainly very sexy to look at, isn't it??? Any time you put your feet in shoes higher than two inches, you are shifting your entire body weight forward, creating this massive pressure, up to seven times, and weight on your toes and balls of your feet. Ever wake up in the night and your arm has fallen asleep because you were lying on it funny? That's how your feet feel at the end of the day, after being in high heels.
  • Flat feet. Flat feet are often something you cannot help- flat feet can be genetic. People with flat feet often wear ballet flats, which are just as bad as high heels and pointy-toe shoes as aggravating bunions! Ballet flats have no arch support and this makes a primo environment for a bunion to worsen. 
So what shoes are good for a bunion? The American Podiatric Medical Association has a list of Seal Accepted footwear. You can check out the whole list, but companies to look for are: Orthaheel, The Walking Company, Chaco, Inc., Dansko, Dockers, Aetrex, Patagonia Footwear, Clarks, Merrell. These are shoes that are going to cost you more, but when you buy fewer, smarter pairs, you feet will thank you in the long run.
Reference: APMA
If you have a foot deformity, call our Glastonbury or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Ayman M. Latif, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Foot Deformity Doctor in CT
Podiatrist in Glastonbury and Middletown, CT
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