Foot Pain–Your Bunions are Screaming

Let’s talk about something that most of us don’t like to talk about–our feet and the pain that we sometimes endure.  Today we’re going to talk about bunions.  That unsightly bump on the side of your big toe. 
The pain can be unbearable sometimes. You can be sitting in a very important meeting and all of a sudden the sharp pain comes in an instant, you try to sit there and pay close attention while trying to get your shoe off with the opposite foot. You’re sound asleep dreaming of something wonderful when out of nowhere the pain causes you to wake up. You try to alleviate the pain by taking your foot from under the sheet, which seems to be weighting a ton and irritating your foot to no end. The screaming is horrific and you just want it to stop. This annoying friend is the dreaded bunion pain. It is a pain that can be sharp or it can be a thumping pain. It can feel like every time your heart beats the bunion on the side of your foot is struck with pain. Bunion pain can make you walk around your office barefooted. It can hurt so bad that you drive home with no shoes.
Bunions are very common foot deformities. They are a displacement of the bone that is under the big toe, which causes it to move towards the rest of the toes who will not be very happy with the closeness. This will then cause a shifting of bones that will then cause a bony prominence on the side of the foot (this is called the bunion joint). Bunions are far more prevalent in women than in men, but are just as painful in both. Surgery is always an option in the removal of bunions, but it should be the last possible solution. Those that have bunions should remember that surgery is not always successful and it can be very painful. They should also remember that the surgery does not guarantee that you will be able to wear the shoes that you desire; the surgery is designed to alleviate the pain nothing else. There are nonsurgical options for relieving the pain of bunions. These options are simple and very cost conscious.  Here are a few solutions that I know that work.
 1. Wear wide fitting shoes, shoes with wide toe boxes. Persons who are afflicted with bunions generally will wear a half size larger shoe. You should always have your foot measured. Most designers have shoes with wider toe boxes. You don’t have to buy “comfortable” shoes to get a wide toe box. You can look stylish in wide toe box shoes. Some of the brands that I have found to have wide comfortable toe boxes are: Sofft, New Balance, Saucony, Miz Mooz and others.

  2. Choose shoes that have a leather upper. This will allow the foot to breathe and also allow the shoe to stretch. You can buy an inexpensive stretcher for your shoes at any local drugstore or you can take your shoes to the shoe repair shop for them to stretch them for you.

  3. Wear low to medium heel shoes and save the heels for special occasions. Male doctors will tell women to avoid high heels at all times, but what do they know, they just graduated medical school. High heels do come in wider toe boxes. You should never try to stuff your foot in pointed toe shoes.

  4. Try padding the bunion. Padding can take up valuable space in the shoe so be very careful of the pads you choose. Try them on (shoes/pads) and walk around in the house on your day off to see if they work. They can also be painful to remove. Always soak your feet in warm water before attempting to take off the bunion pad. After removing the pad, try putting lotion on the bunion. Sometimes pads can cause irritation, so be careful.

  5. Go without shoes when possible. While at home, go without shoes, or wear socks or comfortable slippers.

  6. Massage your feet every night-they will enjoy it. Take time to rub the bunion and exercise the big toe. Take about 10 to 15 minutes a night to prepare them to wear shoes the next day. While rubbing the bunion place two fingers between the big toe and the next. Do this about six or seven times. While in this position take the thumb and rub the bunion while the two fingers are between the toes. If you have time, soak your feet in warm water. If pushed for time, take a bath instead of your regular shower. Your feet will thank you. Pay close attention to your entire foot. Bunions can cause other foot problems such as corns. Make sure to treat the entire foot with care.

  7. When sleeping wearing night splints. This can straighten the bunion while you sleep. You can go online to find them or they can be found in your local drugstore.

  8. Wear toe socks-they will keep your feet warm while they gently straighten out your toes, and they are cute and stylish. 

  9. Never wear the same shoes twice in a row. If you wear your favorite pumps on Monday, wear another pair on Tuesday. This will allow your feet to go to another position for at least eight hours.

  10. Get rid of shoes that are still painful after about the third wearing. They will not get any better, and you might be tempted to wear them again.

  11. Visit a podiatrist at least once a year. He can give you new exercises and even tell you if surgery is needed. Always remember that you should get at least two opinions before surgery.

There are a lot of reasons that people have bunions, and it is not always the shoes. In underdeveloped countries where the people rarely wear shoes or never wear them there are still cases of people who have bunions. It is sometimes genetic, so blame your parents-I did and still do.

 In most instances those that have bunions if careful can go without surgery. When all else fails and the pain has become unbearable, surgery may become necessary. Those that choose surgery should know that this is not cosmetic surgery, but corrective surgery. They should know that most doctors do not repair both feet at the same time, which means the rehabilitation period will be longer.

You can live with bunions and not have pain. It takes a little extra shopping time and not always believing that surgery is the answer. I say all of this since I have alleviated the screaming, and I have not had surgery. Surgery was recommended to me many years ago by a podiatrist. When I informed my primary care physician that I was having surgery, he asked me if my feet bothered me a lot. I told him they didn’t unless I wore certain shoes. He replied, “Don’t wear them if they hurt.” He also told me that I would know when and if I needed surgery. I baby my feet with my hereditary bunions, because even though they are with me always, I don’t like them screaming at me.

Take a look at some people you might recognize–see you do have something in common with them.  Click on the pictures and take a look. Ladies if you have a solution to a foot problem, please share with us.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear.”  See you next week.


  • Eneida Biancardi
    November 4, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I had some severe foot pain a couple of months ago when i had a biking accident. Pain killers are god sent. ”

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  • Nena Sarkodie
    March 5, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. The plantar fascia, a band of tough tissue connecting the heel bone to the toes, becomes irritated or inflamed. Heel pain, worst in the morning when getting out of bed, is the most common symptom. Arch pain may also be present. .

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