Bunion Shoes for Hallux Valgus Sufferers
Wearing bunion shoes can not only help to prevent irritation and bunion pain, but they can play an important role in the recovery process from a hallux valgus deformity. Choosing the right shoes to wear when you have bunions is one of the first steps you should take to prevent deterioration of the condition.
If you have been diagnosed with hallux valgus, it is likely that your usual choice of footwear may have played a role in the development of the condition. Shoes are often to blame for the formation of bunions, as ill fitting and restrictive footwear places pressure on the first joint of the big toe; termed the first metatarsophalangeal joint
Pressure often comes from wearing ill fitting footwear, especially shoes with a tight and restrictive toe box. Over time the body responds to the pressure by laying down bone deposits in response to the pressure, with the bones of the toe and the corresponding metatarsal often being repositioned. The base of the toe starts to protrude inwards and the toe angles outwards towards the other toes.
Shoes may be responsible for the formation of the bunion, and a change of footwear can form part of a treatment plan. Wearing bunion shoes will ensure that not only is the pressure removed, but the toes can adopt a natural alignment and the healing process can begin. The bunion may not be totally eliminated, but bunion shoes can ensure that the hallux valgus deformity does not deteriorate. The good news is that shoes for bunions can be highly fashionable, and you do not have to choose between and foot health and fashion if you have a hallux valgus deformity.
Characteristics of Bunion Shoes for Hallux Valgus
Tight fitting shoes which force the toes out of their normal position can cause bunions, and wearing shoes which allow the toes to splay naturally without pressure being applied to the first metatarsophalangeal joint can aid recovery. When looking for shoes for bunions you should ensure that a pair of shoes also has the following characteristics.
- Soft and yielding uppers to ease pressure and bunion pain
- A wide toe box to allow the toes room to move and to encourage natural alignment
- A wide toe box will also allow bunion pads to fit inside your shoes
- A low heel to ease pressure on side of the foot
The best materials for the uppers are any material which stretches, such as fabric or soft leather. When the shoes are on your feet, you should be able to move your toes upwards slightly. If your toes have no room to move, the toe box is too narrow. High heels may look good; however they are particularly bad for bunions. When the heel is raised, more of the body weight is exerted on the first joint of the big toe which increases the pressure exerted on your bunion from the sides of your shoes. Flat shoes or shoes with a low heal should be worn.
Best Shoes for Bunions
If you suffer from bunions, finding shoes which will fit your feet can be a big challenge in itself, with a hallux valgus deformity often making it difficult to wear anything other than open toed sandals. Fortunately there are a number of brands of footwear which are ideal for bunion sufferers, which will not only be comfortable to wear but will match with your wardrobe. Fidelio hallux shoes in particular are an ideal choice. The Fidelio range has been designed specifically with the bunion sufferer in mind.
Fidelio Hallux Shoes
The range of shoes from Fidelio may look like standard shoes; however they have been designed specifically as bunion shoes. The range features a panel of stretchable material on the inside edge at the base of the big toe to accommodate bunion feet comfortably. This panel not only makes these shoes comfortable to wear if you have bunion feet, but ensures that pressure applied to the side of the foot is low.
Fidelio is an Austrian brand, with the shoes hand crafted from high quality materials and the finest soft leather. The shoes are great for healthy feet, offering a well cushioned metatarsal pad with an insole to match the natural contours of the foot. The Fidelio hallux range ensures proper longitudinal support for the metatarsals and encourages natural toe alignment. Heel shock absorption is provided with an air cushioned sole and a deep heel cup keeps the foot firmly in place. The insole is removable to accommodate foot orthotics, even in the sandal models.
Browse the range of Fidelio hallux shoes and sandals
Specific hallux shoes may be the best choice of bunion shoes; however there are many other healthy footwear choices available which offer similar benefits and will be a better choice if you are on a tight budget.
Aetrex Stretchable Shoes
Aetrex is perhaps best known for its range of comfortable insoles sold under the name Lynco; however the Aetrex footwear range is extensive with plenty for the bunion sufferer. In particular the Aetrex stretchable range are ideal as bunion shoes, with the uppers soft and yielding to comfortably accommodate bunion feet. The shoes feature a roomy toe box with good height to allow full movement of the toes and a totally natural alignment. The uppers are constructed from Spandex to stretch comfortably and lack internal seams to prevent abrasion and irritation of the skin.
The shoes have a foam lining which adapts to the shape of the feet of the wearer, and the shoes offer heel counters for stability and padded collars to prevent abrasion on the ankles. There are few footwear brands which offer such freedom of movement for the toes, and the shoes even have room for customization with a removable Lynco insole which can be replaced with a custom orthotic. The lightweight, highly breathable and comfortable design makes them an ideal bunion shoe for year round wear.
Browse the range of Aetrex stretchable shoes and sandals
Rocker Soled Shoes (e.g. MBT)
Rocker soles shoes may have been sold for the ability to generate additional muscle activity in the lower body, and footwear manufacturers have been keep to promote that aspect of the shoes. However rocker sole shoes can offer considerable health benefits, and bunion sufferers can certainly benefit from this style of shoe. The rocker sole is rounded from heel to toe creating a rolling motion when walking. This roll can ease pressure loading on the forefoot to ease bunion pain.
The shoes are also idea for sufferers of plantar fasciitis, and natural alignment of the bones in the foot is encouraged by the footwear. It is not just the posture of the feet which is corrected, with shoes such as MBT offering both lower and upper body posture correction to ease the strain on the knees, lower and upper back. Rocker sole shoes can take a little getting used to at first due to the rounded sole; however once you get used to the new way of walking you should find these should highly comfortable, and ideal if you suffer from lower back or joint pain in addition to bunions.
A favorite with podiatrists and the only shoes you should wear for sports; athletic shoes have considerable benefits to the health. Athletic shoes offer excellent heel and forefoot cushioning, good stability and soft, yielding and breathable uppers. As bunion shoes, athletic shoes are ideal and are highly comfortable. Any high quality brand of athletic shoes will be a good choice, although New Balance are one of the best brands to choose whether you are highly active or just want to take advantage of the comfort that this style of shoe offers. New Balance offer the full range of foot widths to accommodate even the most problematic bunion feet. Other high quality brands include Brooks, Nike, Reebok, Adidas and Saucony.
Of you want to ease pressure on the sides of the feet, the natural choice is a pair of sandals. For the summer they are the number one choice of bunion shoes; however not all summer sandals are a healthy footwear choice. Flip flips should be avoided as they do not provide the right level of arch support. Although toe post sandals will not exert any pressure on the sides of the feet, the straps can irritate the skin and cause abrasion.
You should always choose sandals with an orthotic insole and arch support, and the models with a fairly rigid sole are far better for foot health. A deep heel cup adds stability and the foot should sit low in the shoe for added protection. When choosing sandals make sure that the toes do not protrude from the end of your shoes, and always choose soft and comfortable straps made from padded material or soft leather. Orthaheel sandals are a great all round healthy sandal for summer, with smarter designs available from Naot, Birkenstock, and Fidelio also make a good range of summer sandals for bunion sufferers.