Did you know over 14 million of us suffer from bunions? The painful bump that can form at the joint of our big toe can be extremely uncomfortable and can be very debilitating. It can also stop of from wearing the shoes that we love, leading us to often find unfashionable alternatives or temporary padding to ease the pain.
One famous face who suffers from bunions is Dr Dawn Harper, who you may recognise from the TV programme, Embarrassing Bodies. The 55-year-old doctor has developed a hereditary bunion on her right foot which has caused her pain for around ten years now. In aid of National Bunion Day today, Dawn wants to make people aware they don’t have to put up with the pain of bunions and reveal all about the comfortable yet stylish Sole Bliss shoes she has recently discovered.
“There’s an awful lot of people putting up with them (bunions) and in quite a lot of discomfort you know. Feet hurt, me for example, I used to stop walking, I used to get a taxi sometimes rather than walk and that’s not good for your general health, so if our feet are hurting, we’re not going to be as active. So, bunions aren’t life threatening, but they are life affecting.”
Although Dawn’s bunions were hereditary from her mother, there can be many other causes of bunions especially in women.
“Generally speaking, they are most common in women over 30. One of the theories is that when women are pregnant, we have a hormone called relaxin which circulates and that’s actually a good thing. It allows all the ligaments in the pelvis to stretch and actually allow us to give birth at the end of the pregnancy but it can also mean that other ligaments get a little bit slacker and it’s one of the reasons it is so common to get back pain in pregnancy but also it can mean that the ligaments that hold the toe in alignment can sometimes get a little bit out of kilt and that can allow a bunion form.”
Despite flat shoes being comfier to wear and helping to ease the pain of bunions, as women we are likely to want to wear a pair of pretty heels every now and then. Dawn admits she loves a pair of heels and is rarely in flats.
“I live in heels and I didn’t have any problems at all until probably about 10 years ago until I started to notice bunions forming and my feet were hurting at the end of the day. High heels don’t cause bunions, it’s our genetics that make us predisposed to them. But, trying to fit your feet into narrow fitted shoes doesn’t do them any good, and it makes them painful.”
Dawn admits she struggled to wear heels before finding the heels she can wear all day without any pain. Sole Bliss Shoes are specially designed for those suffering with bunions and make wearing heels with bunions comfortable.
"They’re a soft fabric so they’re not restrictive, and they are designed specifically for women with bunions. Lisa Kay who is the designer, has got this new technology, so it has padding within the shoe to accommodate the foot and that for me that does two things, first of all it’s really comfortable.”
Dawn also loves the fact that the Sole Bliss Shoes never miss shape compared to other heels she has worn in the past.
“They look lovely but within weeks, the shoe is starting to sort of misshape to accommodate my bunion and you could tell which was my right shoe straight away, it was so obvious because of the lump, whereas these shoes don’t.”