Like plantar fasciitis, bunions are a foot issue that can be defined as a bony and abnormal growth seen on the segment connecting your big toe with the foot. This problem is often caused due to genetics and hereditary inheritance. However, it can also stem from aggravation due to the use of improper footwear. This is especially true for people that wear high heels.
Most podiatrists would recommend that you refrain from wearing high heels to evade the bunion from worsening further. But, you can surely wear heels occasionally and flaunt a stylish look without having to deal with the painful symptoms.
So, how can you do this? How can you wear heels with bunions?
In this guide, we will discuss some of the best ways to wear heels when suffering from bunions without having to worry about troubling your feet any further.
When to get help when ailing with Bunions?
In case you are worried about your bunions worsening with time, it is advised that you consult a medical professional as soon as possible. Like any other health condition, early treatment for bunions can help decrease discomfort and invasiveness and reduce mobility and deformity issues. The early warning signs for bunions include:
- Calluses present on the side foot area close to the joint near the big toe
- Calluses present in the section where your 2nd toe and big toe rubs together
- Foot’s side skin looks shiny and red along with inflammation
A doctor would prescribe you an x-ray session to understand the condition of your bunions, and depending on how bad it is, he/she might prescribe you options such as:
- Toe separators
- Custom orthotics
- Stretching and physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications
Smart Tips to Wear Heels with Bunions
In order to be able to wear heels with bunions, you need to keep your feet as healthy as possible. About ½ an hour of exercise done on a daily basis can help you keep a healthy weight & won’t pressurize your feet. Further, it can help aid blood circulation, flexibility, improved strength, and reduced inflammation.
While sitting, make sure you exercise the ankles and feet by pointing & flexing the toes & feet. You can also circle the ankles in a clockwise and counterclockwise motion.
2-Use Toe Spreaders with Gel:
When dealing with bunions, you don’t have to compromise on the style factor, at least for a short while. To get rid of any foot pain that comes with bunions, you can pick up toe spreaders with gel incorporated within. These devices help separate the toes while allowing them the right amount of stretch. Using them every 15 to 20 minutes on a daily basis can be a big relief when bathing, watching TV, or even relaxing.
However, don’t wear them when walking as they can be very painful and might hurt your feet more than bunions.
3-Use Spreader Socks for Toe:
Apart from your toe gel spreaders, you can also make use of spread socks that can easily be worn before you are off to sleep. These socks are designed to help ease the bunion pain while training the toes in a straight way. Again, keep in mind that these socks must not be worn while walking.
4-Change your shoe height:
When suffering from bunions, the key is to change the shoe several times throughout the day. Refrain from wearing the same shoes every day to work. Changing your shoe’s height can keep the feet flexible & change the overall pressure that affects your toes. You can switch between low heels, slippers, athletic shoes, or moderate heels.
5-Avoid Skinny, High Heels:
Try to avoid wearing skinny heels that are very high. High stilettos can be ideal for events that require you to sit for hours instead of standing or walking. These heels tend to put a lot of pressure on the bunions and hence keep you awake at night dealing with extreme pain. Make sure you carry around foldable flats within the handbag to switch it with the fancy shoes in case you start feeling the pressure.
6-Look for stable soles:
Several shoes come with leather or slick soles. Try and avoid these soles and select the ones that pack in proper cushioning, textured soles, non-slip design, and anything else that can make your walk comfortable while protecting the painful bunions.
7-Select soft shoe materials:
Moderate or high heel shoes that are made from natural and soft leather can easily be cleaned, polished, and oiled. This keeps up the flexibility and breathability of the shoes for the long term. Moreover, good quality material tends to stretch & conform to your foot’s shape, making it way more comfortable as opposed to the non-yielding materials.
8-Don’t buy shoes with a break-in period:
If your shoe doesn’t fit you right, it is time to switch to a new one as soon as possible. If you try and wait for the break-in period, you might end up with pain in the bunions along with aggravated inflammation. Regardless of how to cut those shoes look, try to avoid temptation and stick to the ones that don’t pinch the feet all day long.
9-Learn proper walking:
This might come as a surprise to you, but many of us lack the art of walking. This is especially true with women who are accustomed to high heels. They tend to walk in a toe-to-heel pattern as opposed to the heel-to-toe pattern. This tends to lay down a lot of weight on the bunions as the foot hits the floor. To avoid this pain, make sure your heel hits the ground first and then your forefoot for an even distribution of weight.
This would also help ease the bunion pain and reduce any back issues you might have been dealing with.
10-Choose open-toed shoes:
When dealing with bunions, the right way to wear heels is to opt for open toed-shoes with straps that go all across the top of the foot. These types of shoes don’t put a lot of pressure on the bunion and are very comfortable to walk with. Further, they alleviate pressure without pressing against your feet.
11-Go half a size bigger:
To deal with bunion effectively, ensure that the shoes you select have a mix of 0.5-inch of space between your toes and the shoe tip. Try and avoid shoes that have a pointed tip and the ones that let your feet slip forward in the toe box. Besides, the shoes you choose should allow you to jiggle your toes as well as spread them.
12- Make use of inserts and orthotics:
You will find several kinds of supports and pads that help reduce bunion pain. The bunion sleeves are made using a soothing gel material that can offer protection and padding for hurting bunions. The toe crests help hold the toes in the correct position to avoid putting any pressure on the bunion. The ball present on footpads offer relief from a painful bunion. The right arch support helps in alleviating all foot pain.
The bottom line
With these pointers in mind, you can surely walk with style wearing your high heel shoes or stilettos without having to worry about a painful journey. With bunions, the pain might not be evident initially, but it surely pops up when you least expect it. So, be careful to look out for the tell-tale signs and act accordingly!
Brandon R. Katz is a registered professional nurse who has been instrumental in providing us with an informed opinion on the medical aspects of footwear. He graduated from NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and currently provides his services at a non-federal long-term care hospital in Brooklyn, NY.
Brandon proves to be the champion in the group of expert writers with his in-depth knowledge in foot health, how to take care of it adequately, and what shoes, socks, or insoles will be supreme for you. He has previously worked with hospitals where he has foreseen both inpatient and outpatient departments and has been a practicing nurse since 2009.
Brandon hails from Jersey City, NY, and has a loving family of four with a small popper called Rozo. His decision to become a nurse arises from the desire to be in the position of helping and rehabilitating people.