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Can ill-Fitted Shoes Increase the Risk of Developing Bunions?
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Bunions, medically known as hallux valgus, are a common foot condition characterized by a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe. They can cause pain, inflammation, and difficulty in walking, severely impacting an individual's quality of life. While various factors contribute to the development of bunions, ill-fitted shoes have been identified as a significant risk factor. 
1. The Anatomy of Bunions:

To understand how ill-fitted shoes contribute to the development of bunions, it is crucial to comprehend the underlying anatomy of the condition. Bunions occur when the big toe joint becomes misaligned, resulting in the deviation of the toe towards the other toes. Over time, this misalignment causes the metatarsal bone to protrude, leading to the formation of a bony bump. The pressure exerted by ill-fitting shoes aggravates these structural abnormalities and accelerates bunion formation.
2. The Impact of Ill-Fitted Shoes on Bunions:

A study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research revealed that wearing shoes with a narrow toe box or high heels significantly increases the risk of developing bunions. The constriction of the toe box forces the toes into an unnatural position, resulting in excessive pressure on the big toe joint. This pressure contributes to the misalignment and progressive deformation of the joint, exacerbating the formation of bunions.

4. Lack of Support and Stability:

Proper footwear should provide adequate support and stability to the foot. However, ill-fitted shoes often lack these essential features. Research published in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association suggests that wearing shoes that do not offer sufficient arch support can contribute to bunion development. When the foot lacks proper support, the arch collapses, placing additional stress on the big toe joint. This increased stress accelerates the deformity and progression of bunions.

3. Increased Pressure and Friction:

Ill-fitted shoes not only restrict toe movement but also subject the foot to increased pressure and friction. A study conducted by the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society found that shoes that are too tight can create abnormal pressure points on the foot. These pressure points lead to increased friction, which further irritates the bunion and surrounding tissues. The constant rubbing against the shoe's interior can cause inflammation, pain, and the formation of corns or calluses.

5. Impact on Gait and Alignment:

The way we walk, known as our gait pattern, can be influenced by the shoes we wear. Ill-fitted shoes can alter the natural gait, disrupting the foot's alignment and contributing to the development of bunions. A study published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery discovered that individuals who wore shoes with an improper fit had altered gait patterns compared to those wearing properly fitted shoes. These abnormal gait patterns place excessive strain on the foot's structures, including the big toe joint, increasing the likelihood of bunion formation.

Foot with bunions floor plan
Feet with bunions left
Bunions showen on left foot
Exploring the Link Between Footwear and Bunions
Foot with bunions front
Can Footwear Beyond Sizes be a Solution?
Recognizing the importance of proper footwear and making informed choices can help you reduce the risk of developing buninons.
Unlike mass-produced or ready-to-wear shoes, No Number footwear; footwear beyond size is costum made. It is designed specifically for an individual's unique foot measurments. It is tailored to accommodate any existing non-medical peculiarities such as wide feet or feet with lower arch volume. It offers the opportunity for ongoing adjustments and modifications as needed. Size flexibility allows optimal comfort and support and is alleviating pressure points that can couse bunions.

However, if you suspect or have already been diagnosed with bunions (hallux valgus) or any other foot condition, it is crucial to consult a qualified healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist. These medical experts possess the necessary expertise to accurately diagnose your condition, provide personalized advice, and offer appropriate treatment options based on your specific situation and medical history.

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The preceding writting on the relationship between ill-fitted shoes and the risk of developing bunions was provided for informational purposes only and was not written by a medical professional or doctor. It was provided by No Number team to raise the awareness and provide general knowledge about the relationship between ill-fitted shoes and the risk of developing bunions.
We have come to such conclusion based on feedback of clients that have visited our shoemaker to get bespoke shoes and numberous feet that have been measured and exement during this process. The information presented here should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Further on, we explore the relationship between ill-fitted shoes and the increased risk of developing bunions, based on reference studies such as the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research's "Shoe-related factors contribute to the development of hallux valgus in women," the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society's "Bunion," the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association's "Nonoperative Treatment of Bunions," the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery's "The effects of shoe width on static and dynamic foot kinematics" and based on experiences of No Number's team member Aleš Kacin gained while fitting bespoke shoes to different foot measurements and conditions, including bunions.

It is also important to understand, that No Number footwear is not orthopedic footwear. However, it is custom. It is designed to be tailored beyond standard sizes, offering ultimate fit for individual foot. It's primary purpose is to help prevent foot conditions such as bunions rather than heal existing one.

It also provides balance between health care and fashion. It combines style, comfort, and functionality to provide a superior and aesthetically pleasing experience for the wearer, never overstaping the line where the design of the footwear, it's estetic or unproper fit would compromise health of the feet or additionaly contribute to the development of bunions.
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1. Nix SE, Smith M, Vicenzino B. "Prevalence of hallux valgus in the general population: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. 2010; 3:21.

2. American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. "Bunion." Accessed September 2021. []

3. Redmond AC, Landorf KB, Keenan A-M, et al. "Footwear and foot characteristics in patients with bilateral and unilateral hallux valgus." Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. 2009; 2:5.

4. Yamamoto Y, Hasegawa M, Suzuki H, et al. "Association between toe deformities and shoe types: a cross-sectional study using a foot-type classification." Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association. 2013; 103(6): 480-487.

5. Menz HB, Morris ME. "Footwear characteristics and foot problems in older people." Gerontology. 2005; 51(5): 346-351.
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