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Jonathan Cluett, M.D.

Do High Heeled Shoes Cause Bunions?

By May 10, 2013

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Tight fitting shoes are thought to be the cause of bunions in about 90% of patients. Shoes such as high heels are particularly damaging to the toes. These shoes have a sloping foot piece and a narrow toe box. The slope causes the front of the foot to be pushed with force into the narrow toe box.


Don't believe me? Consider the following:

  • The average woman in the U.S. wears a dress shoe that is 2 1/2 sizes too small.


  • Bunions occur in about 3% of the population in countries where people wear non-Western style shoes. They occur in about 33% of the population in Western countries.

If you have a bunion, try the following:

  • Step 1: Get your nicest dress shoes
  • Step 2: Set your shoe on the floor and stand next to it


  • Step 3: Decide which is bigger--odds are the shoe is smaller than the foot

If the picture here looks at all like your feet and shoes, you may have found the source of your problem.

Related: More About Bunions | Other Toe Problems

Image Jonathan Cluett, MD

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