Can I Wear Heels If I Have Bunions?

Health medical editor Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, explains.

Any shoe that pinches your feet could aggravate a bunion, so you need to be sure youre giving your feet the room they need. Bunions form when bone grows abnormally at the base of the big toe in the joint between your toe and foot. As they develop, they turn the big toe inward toward the smaller toes, and the enlarged joint can become inflamed, red, and painful. Though most bunions are inherited, a narrow shoe with a small toe box can sometimes cause them.

Make sure any style that you wear provides at least a half-inch of space between the end of your longest toe and the shoe tip. The shoe should conform to the shape of your foot and be comfortable across the widest part. (A recent study said most of us wear shoes a size too small!)

How you walk also could be part of the problem. Placing too much stress on the big toe or inside of your foot can cause bunions and a host of other problems, including back pain.

If your bunions hurt, see a podiatrist. She may suggest special padding for your shoes or medication to reduce the swelling and pain. Also, orthotic shoes or inserts may help keep your feet in the right position as you walk.

Roshini Rajapaksa, MD
Last Updated: February 13, 2009
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