Why Do Bunions Hurt So Badly?
Posted on Jun 08, 2020

Why Do Bunions Hurt So Badly, and what you can do to relieve your bunion pain?


Bunions, or hallux valgus, are caused by a deformation of the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, which is located at the base of the big toe. Bunion development is apparent when the big toe begins to angle inwards towards the other toes, causing a protrusion at the joint. As most shoes are not made to accommodate this protrusion, the bursa (fluid-filled sac which cushions the joint) will become inflamed, making the entire big toe region painful and stiff.

Bunion pains are often triggered by wearing shoes with a narrow toe box, which forces the big toe to turn inwards. More importantly, the narrow toe boxes often simply apply pressure to the bunion and that hurts. Pain from bunions is often more common in women, because high heels, which tip body weight forward onto the toes, also exacerbate the problem. If a shoe has a narrow toe box and then the heel is elevated with more pressure and shear in the forefoot region, that shoe would hurt a bunion more.  

However, the reason bunions form is often related to underlying causes - flat feet and overall inherited foot structure can make you more susceptible to forming a bunion. Most bunions are hereditary and often one can point to a family member with the exact same problem.  


The most common complaint surrounding bunions is that the pain often makes it impossible to wear tight, closed-toe shoes or certain types of sandals. Since bunions protrude from the joint that carries the most weight when you step, walking - even in proper footwear - is often painful.

If you have a bunion, it’s important to find footwear that is accommodating to your condition. Search for shoes that have wide toe boxes or are specifically designed to accommodate bunions. Our new Palmer flip flop, for example, has all the same healing features as our Original Healing Sole flip flop - we just decided to remove the big toe ramp to better accommodate those who have bunions and would like to wear The Healing Sole.

Try out the Palmer for up to 30 days risk-free! If you don’t find relief within that time frame, simply return them to us for a refund.


At the root of bunion pain is shear and pressure and/or inflammation. Resting the bunion by wearing proper footwear is often helpful. Icing your foot, taking over-the-counter NSAIDs, and elevating it can relieve some of the pain and swelling. Consider alternative treatments for relieving inflammation - changing your diet to include anti-inflammatory foods is a great long-term way to improve your health and reduce inflammation throughout your body.

Shoes that have a foot-shaped forefoot, accommodating materials such as mesh and a zero-drop structure are helpful too. Sometimes physicians will prescribe patches with numbing medication in them to place on the bunion during the workday. Stretching and therapy can help too.

Consider supplementing with cannabidiol-based multivitamins, oils, or topical creams to relieve pain and naturally reduce inflammation. Dr. Meredith Warner, the inventor of The Healing Sole, founded Well Theory to offer this revolutionary and safe natural compound to those suffering from pain and help restore balance + wellness.