A bunion is hard to ignore. It’s the bony prominence at the base of the big toe which mars the otherwise straight line of the inner foot. It occurs when the first metatarsal shifts outwards towards the opposite foot, and the big toe moves inwards towards the second toe. The joint connecting the first metatarsal to the big toe bone becomes misaligned and forms a bulging bump.
Once a bunion starts to form, the small fluid-filled pads (bursae) around the big toe joint can become inflamed, causing swelling, redness and severe pain. The medical name for a bunion is Hallux Valgus – hallux meaning big toe and valgus meaning midline of the foot.
See below a pictorial severity scale highlighting the mild to more extreme bunion conditions:
How do Bunions Form?
What causes bunions? Even among podiatrists, you’ll find a variety of reasons. There are several common causes of bunions:
- Genetics - Your bunion could be an inherited structural foot defect. Genetics bestow us with certain foot bone shapes, and this is the most prevalent cause of bunion formation in sufferers. Blame your grandparents!
- Biomechanics - Faults with your feet’s biomechanics, such as over-pronation or flexible joints. When the body overloads the inner foot bones, normal distribution of weight through the first metatarsal into the big toe is disrupted, putting stress on the joint and in some cases leading to bunion formation. In Sole Bliss closed-back pumps, a small memory foam pillow keeps your feet in the correct position and protects against this inward rolling of the foot.
- Pregnancy - Pregnancy can lead to new arrivals – and we don’t just mean babies! The hormone Relaxin is responsible for loosening up the ligaments of the pelvic bones during childbirth. In some cases, Relaxin also affects the ligaments around the bones in your feet. This can lead to the formation of a bunion or the widening of the foot, which is why you often hear of women having to take a whole new shoe size after having a baby.
- Chronic Obesity - Just like during pregnancy, obesity adds exaggerated stress to the structure of your feet due to the additional weight of the body, and often results in pronation, a cause of bunions.
- Medical Conditions - Some conditions associated with loose ligaments and joints might increase the chance of developing bunions. Some examples being Marfan Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis. Sole Bliss shoes provide a deep and wide toe box at the front of the shoes equivalent to up to three sizes larger than your regular shoe size, intelligently accommodating feet affected by the aforementioned conditions, plus obesity and pregnancy.
- Poorly-fitting Footwear - Commonly – and incorrectly - credited as the biggest reason for bunion formation, shoes that don’t fit your feet properly are a significant factor in the worsening of bunions. This progression of the severity of your bunion can be avoided by investing in footwear with sufficient width and depth in the toe box, and the support your feet need. While a bunion is something a person may have a predisposition to, shoes that are too tight, too narrow or too pointed, will send your toes crowding into the front of your shoes, exacerbating the existing problem when worn for extended periods.
A Point About Bunion Shoes
To buffer bunions, your shoes should conform to the shape of your feet without squeezing or pressing on any one part. Sole Bliss comfort fit shoes have a wide toe box with space for toes and tender joints. And that’s just the tip of the technology. To discover the magic of our wide width, bunion-busting shoes read all about How Our Shoes Work.
Shoes to Help Other Foot Problems
Every Sole Bliss style can accommodate wide feet and bunions, but did you know that they can also relieve the discomfort caused by other foot problems?
Hammer Toes – If you suffer with hammer toes, you’ll know that instead of the toe laying flat in alignment with the foot, the bone connecting the toe to the foot bends upwards, with the second toe bone tilting downward to form an inverted 'V'. Poorly-fitting shoes will exacerbate the problem. Sole Bliss shoes are not only designed to provide extra width, but all of the styles are also very deep at the front to avoid putting pressure on hammer toes. For those with hammer toes, check out our extra Wide Fit styles which offer maximum space.
"I have suffered with not only bunions, but irritating hammer toes for several years now, and I felt that stylish shoes were out my reach - until I found Sole Bliss! The extra wide styles are deep enough for my hammer toes, wide enough for my bunions, but secure enough at the back to keep my feet in place. THANK YOU!!! - Andrea"
Plantar Fasciitis – Affecting up to one in ten of us at some point in our lifetime, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of pain in the heel. There is a thick fibrous band of tissue that runs from the heel to the toes called the plantar fascia, and plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of this tissue. It is most common between the ages of 40 and 60, and is often triggered by activities that put stress on the heel - such as running or long periods of standing on hard surfaces. Being overweight can also be a factor. Sole Bliss shoes provide three distinct layers of underfoot memory foam, each with different properties. The base layer is for shock absorbency, the middle layer contours around the shape of your foot and the top layer offers cushioning under the entirety of your foot. Plantar fasciitis sufferers will benefit from this luxurious underfoot support.
"Plantar fasciitis makes walking in any shoe painful - but high heels were the most painful of all! The cushioning in my Sole Bliss heels is unbelievable and has allowed me to feel feminine again. I'm replacing every pair I own with Sole Bliss now! Thank you - Claire"
Arthritic Joints – Painful, stiff arthritic joints can make wearing stylish shoes impossible, but no longer! The combination of the components that comprise Sole Bliss’ award-winning technology can alleviate the discomfort of arthritis in the foot. The triple-layer, custom-cushioning system alleviates pain and provides support, and the wide and deep toe box ensures arthritic joints aren’t constrained or pressurised by the shoe’s upper. Our extra Wide Fit shoes typically have the most accommodating fronts, making them the best shoes for arthritis sufferers.
"The extra wide Sole Bliss styles provide enough space for my stiff, Arthritic toe joint to relax and not feel pressured by the upper of the shoe - it's a miracle!! - Angela"