5 tips to stop your bunion hurting in high heels

So many people come to see us at Foot Right Podiatry complaining of bunion pain, the majority of them are women who are finding it difficult to get into their beloved high-heeled shoes. Contrary to common belief, a bunion is not just a lump of skin on the side of your big toe but in fact, an arthritic change in the 1st metatarso-phalangeal joint (you know, the big joint at the ball of your foot!)

When you get an arthritic change in this joint what your body is actually doing is trying to reduce the range of motion in that area. The problem if you love high-heeled shoes is, that the amount of movement required to wear these shoes is limited.

A high heel shoe by its nature is flexing your big toe, and when you have a bunion, this flexion is not available to you any more. You may notice that when you wear flat shoes that you have only a small amount of discomfort, or even no discomfort at all. This is because the flat shoe is not forcing your big toe into a flexed position.

So, is this the end for your relationship to Manolo Blahnik and Louis Vuitton? I’d like to say no, but it possibly is! BUT, there are options in footwear that will enable you to still wear a high heel, just not all high heels.  Here are some tips to help you choose a better high heel for you


1.     Choose a high heel that has a platform at the front – this reduces the amount of flexion your big toe needs while still giving you a bit of height (trust me, I understand the need for height being a shorty myself!)

2.     Choose a high heel that has a deeper toe box area. This is a bit controversial, but I find that the best shaped toe for a high heel is one with a slight point at the toe – while it is very narrow at the front, there tends to be more room for the front of your foot and so gives your big toe room to move.

3.     Try to avoid the high heels that show your “toe cleavage” – the ones that allow you to see the start of your toes. These heels will cut across your 1st MPJ and will press into the joint every time you walk – after a few hours of walking in them you are sure to be in a lot of discomfort!

4.     If you have a fantastic pair of heels that are giving you pain but you do not want to part with right now, try putting a rubber non slip sole on them if they are leather. This will improve the shock absorption of the shoe (providing they have a leather sole) and can make them much more comfortable to wear.


Bunion pain can be very frustrating and debilitating, especially if you wish to, or are required to wear a high heel on a daily basis. The Podiatrists at Foot Right Podiatry are well versed in the best treatments available to help your bunion pain. If you require any further information, please don’t hesitate to come and see us for a consultation.