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Do High Heels Fuel Bunion Pain?

Do High Heels Fuel Bunion Pain?

Whether you’re a seasoned pro when it comes to wearing high heels, or you only bring them out for special occasions, there’s no getting around the fact that heels aren’t the most comfortable footwear. 

From our perspective as podiatrists, the team here at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle wants to underscore the comfort issues that come with high heels and how they’re related to foot structure issues, such as bunions.

If you routinely wear high heels and you’re developing painful bunions, the connection is no coincidence.

How a bunion forms

Bunions are structural defects that occur gradually as a result of an issue with your metatarsophalangeal joint (MTP). Your MTP joins the first long bone in your foot (your metatarsal) with the first bone of your big toe (your phalanx).

A bunion develops when the two bones in your MTP move out of alignment. As a result of these shifts in your bones, a bunion forms at the base of your big toe.

There are several reasons why bunions occur, including genetics and problems with arthritis, but ill-fitting shoes are the primary culprit of this potentially painful condition.

When you wear shoes that don’t allow space for your toes to spread out (think pointy toes), you’re disrupting the balance in your foot’s structure, which can lead to anatomical defects like bunions and hammertoes.

Exacerbating the issue are high heels, which force most of the pressure onto the balls of your feet and your toes, accelerating structural issues like bunions.

Bunions and pain

Bunions don’t necessarily cause pain on their own, but the bony protrusion that results from the joint misalignment can become inflamed due to friction and pressure. 

A significant contributor of increased friction and pressure around your bunions are shoes that don’t allow enough space, such as pointy high heels.

The problem is that once your bunion becomes inflamed, it can be almost impossible to wear shoes of any kind, as even the slightest pressure on the bony protrusion can cause agony.

In other words, if you’re developing bunions, one of the best things you can do for your feet is to steer clear of heels and pointy shoes in favor of shoes that allow your feet to spread out and distribute your weight more evenly.

We understand that fashion is important, but so is the health of your feet. If you want some alternatives to stilettos, take a look at this list of bunion-friendly shoes.

Another key to managing bunions is to come to see us at the first signs of a problem so that we can slow or halt the progressive condition with orthotics, exercises, and other treatments. To get started, please contact one of our locations in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, Columbia, Pulaski, or Lebanon, Tennessee, to set up an appointment. 

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