Health Team

Cute shoes often cause of painful bunions, experts say

Posted February 7, 2013

— Ashley Massengill, 29, wears high heels only once in a while.

A few years ago, she couldn't wear them at all.

“The way my feet were shaped, I couldn't even fit my foot in them,” Massengill said.

Even in middle school, she experienced a lot of foot pain. She inherited a predisposition for developing bunions, an often painful condition in which the big toe pushes in toward the other toes and forces the joint in the opposite direction.

“My grandmother had it, my mother has had, and my sister has bunions,” Massengill said.

Heels can aggravate foot problems Heels can aggravate foot problems

Raleigh orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Boone says high heels don't cause bunions, but the height and the narrow point of the shoes can make them develop faster and lead to other complications.

“Bunion comes over and then the toe comes up like this and forms somewhat of a hammertoe,” he said, explaining the condition.

If women have bunions but no pain, they can simply try roomier shoes with lower heels.

But Massengill's problem was more severe. She had surgery at Rex Hospital.

“The bone has been cut with a circular saw,” Boone said.

Screws and pins help the realigned bones heal in a straight position.

It's four years after the surgery, and Massengill has left her rounded-toe flats at home.

“I'm wearing these today,” she said, prompting a scolding from Boone. “I can tell you I've had these for so long, they are so broken in that the toe box is actually not that tight anymore.”


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  • outhousecat Feb 14, 2013

    I never wore anything but sneaks and flip-flops. I got a painful bunion anyway. I wouldn't have cared if they'd cut it off with a chain saw as long as it was gone.

    That was about 15 years ago and my foot's fine now. Bunions are the debil.

  • Scubagirl Feb 14, 2013

    " the bone was cut with a saw?"

    How else would you think it was done?

  • britsturtevant Feb 11, 2013

    nasty. the bone was cut with a saw?