Shoes for Bunions need to be wide and comfortable
If you are suffering from a hammertoe condition or have bunions shoes can be uncomfortable to wear. Selecting the correct footwear means the high heels need to go and it’s time for a more practical shoe. To accommodate bunions shoes need to be wider and offer more support. Other minor deformities such as a hammertoe or claw toe will have painful symptoms relieved by wearing a shoe with a wider toe box.
What is a bunion?
A bunion or hallux valgus is a toe deformity which occurs at the first metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe, where the metatarsal bone joins the ball of the foot. The condition sees the large toe turn inwards towards the rest of the toes. A bump is generally present on the inside of the foot which is swollen and sometimes painful.More generally the term bunion is used for the hard, red lump on the side of the foot.
A smaller bunion, referred to as a bunionette or a tailor's bunion, is where the same condition occurs on the outside of the foot at the same joint on the little toe. Bunions are highly prevalent in the Western world, with some sources reporting up to 30% of the population being affected at some point during their lives.
Causes of bunions
Women are affected by this painful foot condition far more than men. The reason for this is that the major cause of bunions is with inappropriate footwear.
Any shoe which cramps the toes places unnatural stresses on the delicate joints of the foot. When this is accompanied with a highly elevated heel position, the weight distribution of the body shifts entirely onto the ball of the foot and the toes. The combination of an abnormal toe position and the full weight of the body can quickly lead to the formation of bunions and other toe deformities.
One of the easiest ways of both helping bunions to heal naturally and preventing their formation is to wear wider shoes with more room for the toes for at least some of each day.
Some of the most important features required in shoes for them to be suitable to wear with bunions are listed below.
• Good arch support
• Wide and accommodating toe box area
• Flexible material used in construction of the uppers (soft fabric, suede, worn leather)
• Not provide any surface for abrasion or irritation
• Large enough to accommodate orthotic insoles
• Whilst cramped toes are a problem, if the toe box does not give enough support, too much free movement can also be a problem
If you have bunions, shoes are a major problem as the extra width required can be difficult to find in any model, let alone one which looks stylish. The the most popular choice has long been the sandal. Sandals for men and women offer the support and provide more space in the toe area and do not cramp the foot. They give maximum movement and minimum potential irritation.
More recently a fashion shoe has been causing quite a stir in the medical community. Crocs shoes have been a runaway success as a fashionable all-round shoe for casual and work wear, and they perfectly fit the description of the ideal bunion shoe. They have a wide toe box, are flexible, they do not cause irritation and give great support. They can also be worn all day and for work as well,and the range of colours, styles and designs is immense.
These shoes are the fashion conscious bunion sufferer’s manna from heaven, and there are few other brands on the market which can complete for range or style, design, comfort and support. Curing deformities of the feet has never been so cool. Of course a couple of pairs of FitFlops for the summer, and your footwear needs should be taken care of!
What is a Hammertoe?
A hammertoe is a broad term used to describe a range of toe joint abnormalities, although in strict terms a hammertoe only occurs on the first joint of the toe.
If the deformity is on the last joint, furthest from the foot it is called a mallet toe.
More than one toe affected? Then it’s a claw toe. On the last joint of the big toe? That’s a trigger toe.
First joint of the big toe? That’s a bunion. But on the little toe, it’s a tailor’s bunion
No matter which you have, footwear becomes an issue
Many brands such as Skechers provide shoes in wide models which are ideal to give a little more room to prevent further damage, and allow the feet to get back into perfect shape. The range of fitness shoes available offer bunion sufferers the chance to carry on with an exercise program whilst protecting the feet and joints.
If you don’t want to splash out on a whole new collection of shoes, and really can’t face departing with your beloved shoe collection, you can buy a shoe stretcher which can help to make existing shoes a little roomier. It’s probably wise to buy at least one pair of purpose designed bunion shoes, as the shoes which need stretching were probably the main reason why the deformity occurred in the first place.
Treatment and pain relief for bunions
There are many options available for the home treatment of mild to moderate cases of bunions. One of the most effective times of the day to start a treatment regimen is during the night. During the night the weight of the body is off the feet and the legs are horizontal encouraging blood flow. The muscles are more relaxed and it is possible to get a 8-10 hour treatment session completed with minimum fuss and maximum effect.
Bunion night splints give excellent support and will help to keep the feet in a more natural position allowing the tendons and ligaments to adapt. Toe straighteners can also be used during the night. For the waking hours when it is necessary to wear shoes, and bunion pads can be inserted to cushion the swollen joint from abrasion and accidental knocks.
A great treatment for mild conditions where the skin is being irritated is offered by Dr. Scholl. from their Party Feet range. called the soft spot moleskin it is an invisible cover for sore spots to stop any further irritation and to provide an extra degree of cushioning.
Toe stretchers are excellent to exercise the muscles in the foot and to gently stretch the tendons and ligaments and help realign the toes. Toe stretching exercises can help to return some flexibility to the toe and keep the ligaments and tendons supple.
A combination of any of these treatments will help to easily reduce the symptoms, however it is wise to seek medical attention in the first case for a full diagnosis. A doctor will also be able to prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers if appropriate and assess whether the condition is severe enough to warrant surgery.