Bunions are the bane of my existence. My very large feet have been forced to be packed into shoes that are designed by somebody who should be fired… alll my life! It has always frustrated me to no ends (given me a painful condition and borderline deformity) that I am unable to find shoes that do not hurt my feet, particullarly from the women’s section. I am talking pain for days…chronically constant and sometimes unbearable aches and pains in the bunion area of my feet. Most likely If you are reading this you may know exactly what I am talking about, and I am here to share some helpful information with other sufferers of sore feet.
After 15 years of real pain and discomfort I finally went to the foot clinic “specialist” and they took and x-ray that he determined showed arthritis in the large second joint of my big toes. The big toes have of course been pulled in toward the other toes in the classic pointed shoe shape that we have unfortunately been cramped into for most of our lives. I am only in my very early thirties and haven’t been working on my feet heavily for about 10 years. My particular problem is my size 12 wide feet that are nearly impossible to find a feminine pair of shoes for. And that was the reason growing up that i was always cramped into ill fitting socks and shoes.
We didn’t realize how wide my feet really were (and so are many many people who are in denial about their real shoe size. Isn’t that odd that certain people cant accept that their feet change just like their body can? Especially if their body has been through weight gain like pregnancy. Also during pregnancy and nursing our body is producing thormone that loosens the joints for easier birth. I think that wit the weight of pregnancy helped to further widen my flappers, furthering my misery most often whenever I wear “women’s shoes”. I pay for it later for days afterward.
Flip flops usually end up hurting my feet, I think because of the lack of arch support and the way my toes naturally clench the thing in the middle as I walk to keep them in place. Even the way socks just naturally cling to the feet creates a binding effect on the toes that harms the way our feet want to be. I now buy thin men’s socks to make sure there is enough room.
The toe box is a very important feature ina shoe. Most toeboxes are just not BOXEY enough for my shape of foot. If the toe of the shoe is pointed in (IN any way) it hurts my bunion area. BAD. So Nikes (and the like) are a no for me. The way the toe box is shaped on Crocs and Keens are the way most of out feet are really shaped, I think. And since they say Americans are getting bigger, then why dont they make bigger shoes for us (and with true width please)?
Moving forward I would like to include a few tricks and tips I have learned along the way with my pancake flappers, as my mom calls them, or skis, if you like, as my father has always referred to them.
Do not wear shoes that are NOT wide enough for YOUR feet. It can be hard, and I understand this, letting your feet get measured at the shoe store and ACCEPTTING what your true size is. But I encourage you to do it, and his way you can begin to find the proper shoe that fits you. Make sure to pay attention to the width especially if you are having pain. And dont think that just because you are a grown up you arent “growing”. As we all now know Americans are getting bigger, and our feet are bearing all that weight. Slight changes in shape of certain areas of the foot as we age and use our body may also be happening and we neglect to re-evaluate our “shoe size” and shape after time.
I totally see why UGGs are as popular as they have become. They are soo comfy because the toe box is enormous and they are so soft they stretch to fit you in all the right places. Just please dont wear your Uggs with out socks or they will get smelly. It sucks when you just shelled out that amount of dough (see tip for foot odor below). SO Word TO THE WISE ..WEAR SOCKS with your UGGs. No matter how much they tell you not to, or “you dont NEED to wear socks with your UGGs “..wear socks or P to the U. Once you start weearing them without socks they will start smelling and fungus will grow faster too. A thin cotton sock helps so much to prevent these icky situations!
Everybody knows crocs are great. But I hope we all know that we dont usually wear them outdoors so we have to try to find other outer wear that doesnt “cramp our style” and our toes. They sure are comfy around the house, but I have found they “cling” on to anything like non slip grip which can make you trip and fall (speaking from lots of experience there). Also, Crocs have been shown to not provide enough protection for your feet in the real world.
I love shopping at the shoe stores where I can serve myself. Like DSW, Nordstrom Rack, etc. I dont like waiting on the snobby shoe fairy/salesperson to tell me NO they dont have it in YOUR size. I hate it when they try to hide their curious reactions in hearing my shoe size request or when finding out that I am the one trying on or buying the mens shoes that I am shopping for. Sorry my feet dont “fit in” to YOUR standards of style and size, but I am sick and tired of hurting my feet and wasting money on shoes I cant comfortably wear. So there. I buy men’s shoes. Sometimes. And my goodness, thank goodness I can stretch out! There are certain styles that are unisex like Merrell mesh slip ons, Doc Martins, and certain styles of Scetchers are very cute and most importlantly they arent likely to mame your feet if you wear them.
I will say this, be prepared for some people’s odd reactions to your trying on shoes in the mens section, if you are female. Kinda like when the nice looking tall thin young man started shopping for high heels beside me in the big and tall sizes at Nordstrom Rack. I really wanted to ask him for tips on where he has found success in finding XL womens shoes. So in turn I guess that goes to show you that we should be able to find some kind of acceptance and success in finding something a little more feminine to suit our tastes in the mens department as well. I have 🙂
For a few years now I have used a bunion night splint by Pedifix that I purchased on ebay, which has been priceless in alleviating pain from wearing shoes during the day. So nice and soft…and effective! I recently saw that Walmart also sells bunion night splints to stretch, relieve and correct bunions and pain. They also carry a gel spacer that is effective as a pain preventative, just place between the big and second toe before putting on socks and shoes and it helps to keep the big toe from being smashed into the other toes. While you are at Walmart dont forget the Dr. Scholls Odor X insoles. They are MAGIC, if you regularly have foot odor or some offensive shoes that need help, these have carbon inside that really absorbs, and are highly rated on Amazon.com.
A really big help in the life of a foot pain sufferer is massage. SELF MASSAGE is excellent. Nobody does me better!
I swear the shoes avaiable for women are like some form of discrimination… and torture! Have you ever seen how they used to bind Asian women’s feet long ago? Well thats how my feet have felt, and I hope I have given you a few helpful ideas on how to relieve some of this pain and how to treat your special feet a little more carefully.