Prevent Bunions

Learn to Prevent Bunions and Limit Foot Pain

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Bunions are a common foot condition that can become painful and unsightly. The best method of preventing bunions, or preventing their progression, is to follow a few simple steps.  While it's true that not every bunion can be prevented, it's also true that the vast majority can.  The problem is, most people don't take bunion prevention seriously until it's too late. 

If you are worried that you are forming bunions, don't turn your world upside down.

  Just read through these recommendations, try to make some simple changes, and see if your symptoms start to ease.  The good news, even if bunions don't go away, they often become less symptomatic when people start to change their footwear.  So without further delay, here are a few tips to help you prevent bunions!

5 Tips to Prevent Bunions

  1. Wear comfortable shoes.
    This may seem obvious, but if the shoes are causing pain at the site of your bunion, then they're not good shoes to be wearing.  The pain that comes from bunions is a result of increased pressure over the prominent portion of the bunion.  Easing pressure on this area means the bunion is not progressing, and it also feels better that way!
  2. Think wide toebox.
    Wider shoes may not be as fashionable as the newest Polo or DKNY shoes (if I'm showing my lack of style, I apologize!), but comfort really should matter more.  Good shoes will have a wide toebox that easily fits your forefoot.  Shoes should not push your toes together into a point, but rather they should allow your toes to rest comfortably.
  1. Avoid high heels.
    Heels cause orthopedic surgeons to shudder, and for good reason--they're bad for your feet. If you have to wear them, do so in moderation.  High heels force the toes to be pushed together in the front of the shoe, causing pressure and deformity of the toes.
  2. Make sure the shoe fits.
    The toebox is just one area--the rest of the shoe, including heel and arch, should also fit well. Try some tips on how to buy the right shoes.  When trying on shoes, walk around in them, and make sure they feel good.  Our parents used to tell us that shoes need to be broken in...  These days a good fitting shoe should feel comfortable when you first put it on.
  1. Pad the bunion!
    When the bunions become painful and irritated, they become more prominent. If it's bothering you, place some moleskin or cushion around the bunion.  Podiatrists often can help you find some simple braces or pads to protect your bunion.


  1. Orthotics can help.
    Often people have foot mechanics which cause abnormal pressure over the area of a bunion. Sometimes, these mechanics can be corrected with orthotics.  Your doctor or podiatrist can help guide you if you need orthotics.
  2. Take a shoe break.
    In the office or around the house--slip off your shoes to relax your feet. Your feet will appreciate this break, despite objections from your co-workers.  If you have to wear high heels or tight shoes for an event, be sure to wear comfortable shoes the rest of the day.
  3. Buy at the end of the day.
    Your feet will be slightly larger from being up and about, this is the time to buy new shoes.  Buying early in the day can lead you to buy shoes that end up being too snug.

A Word From Verywell

A few simple steps can make a big difference.

Preventing bunions does not have to mean wearing athletic shoes or (gasp!) orthopedic shoes. You can make some simple changes that can help to prevent the progression of toe deformities. The vast majority of bunions are the direct result of footwear causing pressure on the toes. By relieving this pressure, you probably wont go backwards, but you can prevent the progression of this deformity.


Perera AM, Mason L, Stephens MM. "The pathogenesis of hallux valgus" J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2011 Sep 7;93(17):1650-61. 

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