Even if you've been wearing specially designed heeled shoes for bunions, it's still important to give your feet a good rest from the additional pressure of your weight bearing down on your toes.
There are few things you can do to help alleviate any pain and to fight the negative consequences of heel wearing.
1. Exercises for your feet
The Yoga International website has some great suggestions for stretching, strengthening and aligning the key muscle groups in your feet and legs to alleviate discomfort and prevent further movement of your big toe. Podiatrist Liam McManus recommends being proactive rather than reactive, and recommends spending some time on a few exercises daily. See our blog post 'Expert talk: podiatry tips for wearing high heels with expert podiatrist Liam McManus' for more tips.
2. Use toe spreaders
After a long day or night in your heels try gel toe spreaders (readily available on Amazon) to relax your foot muscles and stretch your toes. These can be a little painful the first time you use them, so make sure you're busy doing nothing when you wear them, with your feet up. They won't cure your bunions but they'll make them feel a lot better. There are other products out there such as bunion socks, splints and individual toe separators that can also help and be used in the same way.
3. Alternate your shoe height
Mix up your footwear for different days of the week. Alternating between flats, boots, trainers and low wedges will exercise different muscle groups and not put continual strain on your toes. Your shoes should also have enough width and room in them so as not to squash your bunion.
4. Don't go too high
The higher the heel the more pressure you're putting on your toes and bunions. 2 inches is ideal but if you must go a little higher ensure you only do so for short periods of time and not every day or choose a shoe with a platform as well as a high heel as this reduces the pitch of your foot and pressure put on your feet.
5. Check your heel type
The super thin stiletto heel which has become very fashionable isn't great for women with bunions as it reduces your stability when walking. A thicker heel is better as it reduces the pressure put on the toes. Check out Calla's block heels as an example, more comfortable than a stiletto but still super stylish.
6. Save your sole
Heels with a man made non-slip sole are better as this again adds extra stability as you walk. Plus, if you think about the typical weather in the UK, leather soles are not the best material to have on the bottom of your shoes. If your chosen heels do happen to have a leather sole then you can buy stick on non-slip pads.
7. Material choice
Soft leather heels will be the better choice with bunions. Leather is a natural product and allows your skin to breath, plus it will stretch and give over time where you need it most. For example, Calla's shoes for bunions are made from the softest leather and highest quality of materials to ensure they can conceal bunions comfortably.
8. Break them in
It would be worth spending a bit of time breaking in your leather heels if they feel a little snug to begin with (if they're really tight from the off though they may not be the shoes for you). You can do this by putting on a pair of thick socks and popping your shoes on. Then wear them round the house for a bit while you're cooking dinner or sweeping the floor. This should stretch the leather out enough for you to feel comfortable in them for your next social occasion.
If you're not a serial heel wearer, or you've been taking some time out because you've been searching for that perfect pair which don't aggravate your bunions, then you should practice wearing them before your big day or night out. Improve your walking technique - ideally your heel should hit the ground before the ball of your foot. It's a little weird to walk like this at first but it will help reduce the full load of weight from your body down to your toes.
10. Choose an open toe shoe
Although a closed toe court shoe seems to be the staple footwear choice of celebrities and fashionistas everywhere, these aren't for everyone, especially those of us who have larger bunions. An open toe sandal shoe or boot will give some more room and reduce the pressure on the toes. You should also try and wear a shoe that comfortably holds your bunion in place without being too tight or rubbing on it. A perfect example of an open toe shoe is the Calla Karla leather high heel.