Boots and Bunions

It is that time of year again. . . winter. For many this is a dreadful time. Beach days at the Jersey Shore are replaced with bundling up in layers and staying in until forced to take dreadful steps outside. In preparation for those brutally cold walks (especially here in State College) it also means that you definitely switched over from open-toed flip-flops to close-toed snow boots. I know I did. For this reason, I found it especially concerning to see an article about bunions and snow boots. Not only am I being forced (by the weather) to wear these heavy boots, but they might also cause bunions too?

According to Robert Preidt, winter shoes have a causal relationship in causing bunions. For those unaware, a bunion is a bony bump that forms at the joint of the big toe. The only way to completely get rid of a bunion is through surgery, other than that there are only treatments. Bunions form from winter shoes because many winter shoes are narrow, therefore when the big toe rubs against the material of the shoe, inflammation occurs. To prevent this, it is important to purchase shoes that are considered wide for your foot. Moreover, one can purchase padding for shoes in order to decrease irritation.

Perhaps you do indeed get a bunion this winter, how can you determine the best remedy to treat your bunion? There are numerous treatments but I am only going to focus on two of the non-surgical treatments. The Cleveland Clinic advises that to remedy the pain of a bunion, a person purchase either a gel-filled pad or a shoe insert, but which one is best? To answer this question, one could perform an experimental study. A large group of participants with bunions could be randomly assigned. One half of the participants with a gel-filled pad and the other half the shoe inserts. Then the participants could live a week with these remedies and keep a log of how they feel at the end of each day in terms of pain from one to five (five being most painful). At the end of the trial the participants would then be questioned about whether or not they felt that they remedy they were assigned was effective or not and an average of the scores could be tallied. This in turn could help determine which is a better, non-surgical remedy. Of course, confounding variables in this particular study can be identified. For instance, if a person has a serious bunion that should actually be surgically removed, they might rate the remedy they were assigned poorly. The null hypothesis of this theoretical study is that there will be no difference in each of the two types of remedy. On the contrary, the alternative hypothesis is that there is a difference and one of the remedies is better than the other. Since there are many remedies to bunions, I suspect that if this study were to actually take place, there would not be a statistically significant result from this study and the null hypothesis would prove to be correct.

All in all, the true cure that would be most significant in relieving bunion pain is surgery. With this being said, it is important to make sure this upcoming winter you purchase the right shoe for your foot to ensure you never have to deal with the pain of developing a bunion. To do this, research winter boots before you purchase them.


4 thoughts on “Boots and Bunions

  1. Kateryna Okhrimchuk

    I was so surprised when reading your article because my whole life I always thought my winter boots were always my most comfortable shoes! I’ve only worn Uggs most winters because it gets so cold in New York City, so switching over from my really soft boots to flats and sandals in the spring is always so hard. I end up getting blisters and have to wear flip flops since they’re the only shoes that don’t hurt, which is definitely annoying.

    I thought this topic was very interesting so I decided to do some more research as well. According to this website,, another huge factor as to why people develop bunion while wearing winter boots is because they don’t fit well. Even if your boot is half a size too small, or the sides of the shoe are too narrow, you’re more at risk.

  2. Maura Katherine Maguire

    Wow, really interesting post Mairead. I never considered any relation between bunions and snow boots until reading this post. This leads me to think about my cousins that unfortunately were cursed with bunions. I am going to have to warn them that winter boots may be doing further damage!

  3. Mackenzie French

    Since this will be my first time experiencing a winter full of snow, I thought your post was interesting and definitely informative for me! I just purchased my first pair of snow boots, so I hope that they don’t cause me any bunions and definitely not any surgeries! I googled to see which is the most comfortable winter boot for bunions and found that they are Uggs! Check it out.

    Just a thought to take your post another direction is to think about how bunions are hereditary. This article talks about how the shape and size of your foot runs down in your family, so if you are given the same foot you are more likely to get a bunion if your mom has too.

  4. Danielle Megan Sobel

    Hello Mairead. This post was very interesting and was quite a wake up call. I wear different styles of boots almost all year long. Snow boots are of course very practical for the harsh winter, but I also wear a more toned down boot in the fall and spring for a dressed up look, and occasionally a heeled boot to go out at night. Do you think these boots would also cause bunions? This article goes a little further in depth on other problems that can happen when you wear boots

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