Double Trouble from Common Foot Problems and Diabetes-Part 2

Beating bunions.

Joy Pape By Joy Pape, RN, BSN, CDE, WOCN, CFCN

Last month we talked about how common foot problems may not end up being so common when you have diabetes. A simple blister can be dangerous. Same with a common foot deformity called bunions. Here's how it works. And here's what you can do about it.


Bunions look like a bump on your foot where your big toe joins your foot, at the base of your big toe. A bunion is a lot more than just a bump on your foot. What actually happens is your big toe angles in towards your other toes causing other foot problems. Tight fitting shoes cause bunions. High heels are the worst culprits due to their slope and narrow toe box. Genetics are also a cause, but not as strong as the tight fitting high heel shoes so many women wear. Bunions are a concern to people with diabetes because if your shoes do not allow enough room for your bunion, you can develop a blister, then a sore. (See picture from last month – Double Trouble From Common Foot Problems.)

Bunion problems

  • Inflammation – Bunions become painful as the shape of your foot changes and the angle of your big toe towards the others becomes more prominent. This causes inflammation. Classic signs of inflammation are pain, redness, swelling, and heat. You can have inflammation either with or without shoes on.
  • Hammertoes – A bunion can cause development of hammertoes in your other toes. Hammertoes are common in people with diabetes. Hammertoes can cause pressure on your toes, which cause more pain. Hammertoes can also cause blisters if you do not have enough room in your shoes. I will write more on hammertoes next month.

Bunion Treatment

  • Wear shoes that fit! This doesn't mean you have to wear big ugly shoes but shoes with a wide enough toe box. Avoid high heels. Check out adaptive shoe gear recommended by your podiatrist or certified pedorthist.
  • Surgery is recommended when you don't get relief from wearing shoes that fit or from adaptive devices. Remember, if you have surgery you have increased risk for poor healing….

Which brings us back to…Prevention is the best treatment for foot problems. Wear shoes that fit. Manage your diabetes for healthy feet and toes forever.


Read Joy's bio here.

Read more of Joy Pape's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

PREVIOUS: Double Trouble - Part 1 NEXT: Double Trouble - Part 3


Last Modified Date: July 08, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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