Anyone with bunions knows how painful and frustrating this common foot issue can be.
Bunions can arise from a number of factors, from genetics to wearing high heels or consistently wearing shoes that squeeze your big toe joint.
Luckily, there are solutions to help alleviate the pain of your bunions and protect them from getting any worse, starting with switching up your footwear. Read on to learn how to select the best shoes for bunions and some care tips you can do from home.
How to select the right shoes for bunions
If you are suffering from bunions and find that all of your shoes are painful, it’s time to upgrade to some shoes specifically designed for bunions. From men’s and women’s supportive sneakers to flats with wide toe boxes, there are plenty of shoes that will help, rather than hurt your bunions. Here are some tips to remember the next time you’re at the shoe shop.
1. Choose shoes with enough space around your big toe joint
If a shoe feels tight around your big toe joint, it is likely going to cause you problems. Make sure there is enough space so that your bunion can breathe, even if this means going a half size up from your regular shoe size. Every time you get new shoes, have your feet remeasured as the bunion can change your shoe width.
2. Try on new shoes at the end of the day
Our feet swell during the day, so it’s important to try on shoes that you are planning to purchase at the end of the day, not the beginning. This will give you your true size so you don’t select shoes that are too small.
3. Say no to high heels
When you wear high heels, your big toe joint is forced into an extended position that puts a lot of pressure on that spot. This can cause bunions to form or exacerbate ones that already exist. It’s best to opt for shoes that are lower than two inches.
4. Get proper foot support with orthotic insoles
Improper arch support can also cause excess pressure to be put on your bunions. To avoid this, try shoes that have orthotic-level insoles that will cushion every part of your foot and provide the support for your arch, heel, and the ball of the foot. You can also purchase insoles separately and place them into your existing shoes.
5. Look for a wide toe box
A wide toe box is the best for bunions because it allows the foot to retain its natural position, rather than be squeezed in one direction. Pointy toe shoes are the worst for bunions as they will compress the big toe joint and cause more inflammation.
6. Choose shoes made of a flexible material
Select shoes with a soft, pliable material so that they shape to your foot, rather than the other way around. Canvas sneakers and wool clogs are great examples of shoes that will accommodate your bunions and be comfortable for walking around all day.
7. Try shoes with a front rocker bottom
Finally, shoes with a rocker at the front part of the shoe can reduce pressure and movement of the big toe joint, protecting it from aggravation.
Care tips for bunions
While wearing proper footwear like women’s and men’s comfortable sneakers on a daily basis is the most important practice when it comes to bunion care, there are also other ways of alleviating the ache of inflammation. Here are some tips to try at home.
1. Do daily toe stretches
Every day, give your feet a light workout by stretching your toes. One great exercise to start with is to gently pull your big toe away from the other toes for 10 seconds.
2. Use a toe spacer
A toe spacer that is worn in between your big toe and second toe can help keep the proper alignment of your foot.
3. Give your feet an epsom salt-filled foot bath
Epsom salt is a natural means of reducing inflammation and soreness. It’s great in a warm foot bath if you are suffering from bunions.
4. Do a tennis ball massage
You can have your feet massaged by someone else, or you can use a tennis ball to do exercises that roll out the muscles of the foot and relieve pressure.
5. Use ice
At the end of a long day on your feet, try putting an ice pack on your bunions to reduce swelling.
6. Elevate your feet when you’re sitting
While you’re sitting or sleeping, elevate your feet above your heart. This helps circulation and will diminish inflammation in the foot.