1. Avoid narrow shoes. The vast majority of bunions occur in women who wear shoes that are too narrow for their feet. Narrow shoes crowd the toes and significantly increase your risk of developing bunions. Changing to shoes that have wider toe boxes, better arch support and conform to the shape of your feet can certainly help prevent bunions (if not completely stop their progression), but it won't correct an already established bunion. Think in terms of prevention, not correction.
  • To minimize the risk of getting a bunion, never force your foot into a tight shoe that doesn't fit properly. For examples, most cowboy boots and some swing back sandals are too pointy in the toe for most people.
  • Get fitted for your shoes by a shoe salesperson later in the day because that's when your feet are at their largest, usually due to swelling and slight compression of your arches.

 

  1. Don't wear high heels. Women are often expected or pressured to wear high heels for many jobs and due to fashion trends, but heels more than 2 inches high can force the body to tilt forward, which creates lots of pressure in the feet and toes, as well as a strain in the low back. In addition, high heels are almost always far too narrow for most people's toes.
  • Avoid shoes that are short, tight or sharply pointed and those with heels higher than 2 inches. You should be able to wiggle your toes while your shoes are on.
  • About 90% of bunions happen to women, mainly due to their poor choices of footwear.

 

  1. Always choose well-fitting shoes. Avoiding the latest trends and choosing shoes tailored to your foot size and shape is a great strategy to help prevent bunions. Go for sturdy shoes with wide, supportive insteps, broad toe boxes and durable soles. Make sure that they grip your heels tightly, provide enough room to wiggle your toes and have enough interior support to prevent pronation (the rolling inward or collapsing of your ankle). Most good quality athletic or walking shoes with wide toe caps are good choices.

  • There should be at least 1/2 inch of space between the tips of your big toes and the end of your shoes while you're standing up.
  • Select shoes with a soft leather upper that will stretch and give naturally to your walking motion. Shoes with good arch support or using arch support insoles can also be helpful to prevent bunions.
  • In addition to ill-fitting shoes, other risk factors for bunions include certain foot types (flat feet, long toes, loose joints), previous foot injuries such as broken toes, and foot deformities present at birth.

 

  1. Walk around the house in bare feet. Instead of restricting your feet in shoes, sandals or slippers, spend more time walking barefoot. Walking in bare feet will widen your feet, improve balance and strengthen your toes with time. Walking barefoot makes the big toe work harder while toeing off during normal gait, which forces the tendons and ligaments to get stronger — potentially reducing the risk of bunions.

  • When you first go barefoot, start walking on softer surfaces around the house, such as a rug or wood floors with some give or springiness, so as to not create too much force on your feet.
  • As your feet grow accustomed to walking barefoot, progress to harder surfaces both inside and outside your home, but be careful to avoid insect bites and puncture wounds.

 

  1. Use cold therapy. If you notice your toe is swollen and painful after exercise or a day at work, then apply something cold in order to reduce the inflammation. The application of ice is an effective treatment for essentially all minor musculoskeletal injuries, including bunions.Cold therapy should be applied to your toe for 10-15 minutes every 2-3 hours until the pain and swelling subside. Cold therapy should be used in conjunction with changing your shoes to wider, more supportive types.

  • Always wrap ice or frozen gel packs in a thin towel in order to prevent frostbite on your skin.
  • If you don't have any ice or gel packs, then use a frozen bag of veggies from your freezer.