Red flag: protruding big-toe joint
“A tender bony bump on the outside of the big toe signals a bunion, a deformity that occurs due to misalignment of the metatarsophalangeal joint at the toe’s base,” says podiatric surgeon Dana Canuso, D.P.M. And while research suggests bunions have a hereditary component, wearing high heels is also a factor. “Heels force the bulk of the body’s weight onto the big toes,” Dr. Canuso explains.“This puts added pressure on the joint, causing bunions to progress to the point where they become extremely prominent and painful.”
FOR FAST RELIEF: If you have even a slight bump, Dr. Canuso advises wearing silicone-gel toe spacers (find them at ZenToes.com) inside all your shoes. “They help realign muscles and tendons that support the joint, easing pain.” FOR LONG-TERM HEALTH: To minimize pressure on the joint and stop bunions from progressing, Dr. Canuso recommends heels that are 1 to 2 inches high with a wide (not pointed) toe box. Be sure they fit your heel snugly so feet don’t slide forward and put added pressure on toes.