Are there any other runners out there who have bunions on their feet? If so, has running led to any long-term or short-term health problems? Is it worthwhile to get a special pair of shoes to accommodate the bunions?

I've heard conflicting answers on this, from both professionals and well-meaning people who don't necessarily have bunions themselves. I don't think my bunions have affected my running, though I've been told that I walk on the outside of my feet, and when I run, my feet roll towards the inside, onto my bunions. I've also been told that my bunions raise the risk of hurting my arch, or cause me to run flat-footed. I was told this by a running-shoe salesman, however; in reality, how bad is it to be running flat-footed? Having read Born To Run, the jury's still out for me there.

My bunions are the type where the joint where my big toe meets my metatarsus (the inside edge of the balls of my feet) protrudes outwards significantly more than usual. The bones of my feet have just grown that way; it's not a case of chafing leading to calluses, as I originally thought bunions were.

(Also, for reference, I'm just an amateur runner; I don't work on any particular goals except for continuous running, and I usually just toss on my shoes and go without planning much beforehand.)

  • Hi I don't have bunions, but if it was me, there are 2 things I would do. I would go to a specialised running shop, and see what they say. Try more than one, to see if they say the same thing. I would also, see a GP. I don't know how much problems your bunions cause you, but they must be a nuisance for all kinds of shoes, not just running. I'd ask my GP to refer me to get them looked at. You can then ask the specialist your questions about running shoes, and you may have the option to be rid of them.... Hope that helps... Apr 22, 2014 at 15:06
  • Comments cannot be answers...please post your comment as an answer @Tracyat2bactive
    – Hituptony
    Apr 10, 2015 at 15:40
  • Try altra shoes.
    – Eric
    May 31, 2015 at 12:39
  • 2
    Don't take the advice of running store employees (or anyone) as final. Just because they work in a running store doesn't mean they are experts in the field.
    – user15313
    Oct 27, 2015 at 0:41

4 Answers 4


Disclaimer: I am not an expert in running form or podiatry. This is my own experience.

I have a bunion on one foot, which was I suspect caused by over-aggressive rock climbing shoes, but when it flares up it can also make running painful. What seems to set off the pain is shoes that put lateral pressure on my toes (i.e. squeeze my toes together).

What has really helped has been switching to toe shoes (Vibram FiveFingers) and running barefoot. I guess because there is then no inward pressure on my toes at all and they are free to move. This is slightly at odds with professional advice I was given which was to get custom splints and inserts made to immobilse the toe.

It is worth bearing in mind when receiving advice who stands to profit from it. Not that people are profiteering, but that they will naturally know more about, be more interested in, and be more likely to recommend interventions they have a professional interest in.


I've heard from my trainer that you could really hurt yourself if you continue to run with bunions on hard surfaces. I'd suggest running on a track (the rubberized kind) or on grass - even bare feet would be ok. Alternately if you live near a beach, running on dry sand is also a great idea. Finally if none of the above are options, get yourself a good pair of shoes and hit a treadmill.


The best suggestion for you question would be to visit a podiatrist to see if the toe position can be corrected in alignment with your shins and knee to prevent achilles tendon wear'n'tear and also to prevent the future issues reflecting themselves further up in the kinetic chain.

The running shoes that you choose should also have hard soles if you don't have mobile enough ankles. I am assuming that you run either tip-toe or heel strike since your proprioception should already have been set to prevent direct impact on the waek side of your feets balls.

I strongly advise you to get screened by an orthopedic- surgeon or practitioner to rule out and prevent possible (future) issues and see a podiatrist to get proper insoles. This will guarantee that you will have the best setup that your body permits and you will receive all the answers because they are the only specialists who can ELI5 all the questions and doubts you have regarding that matter.

I hope this helps.


Your bunions and a "flat-foot" are CAUSED by over-pronation during running. It seems you were told the opposite.

Flat arches and bunions on the base of your big toe is indicative of “over-pronating” (your foot everts or rolls inward). If you look at the tread on the soles of a pair of running shoes you’ve used for a while -- you’ll notice more wear on the medial side (or inside).

enter image description here

As pronation puts pressure on the inside of your foot (where the painful bunion is) this pain could cause you to COMPENSATE or try reduce the pressure / pain by walking on the outside of your foot or supination.

Don't confuse the response to pain or COMPENSATION (supination to avoid the pain) with the ACTUAL CAUSE which remains the same "over-pronation"

Excessive pronation throws off the entire gait cycle and can lead to not only foot problems but also problems up the kinematic chain (such as low back pain, chondromalacia patella etc.).

Essentially what you’re seeking is subtalar joint neutral. This is the position of the subtalar joint in which the foot is neither pronated nor supinated - Where hindfoot is neutral. In addition, a normal gait line or the center of pressure as you move through the stance phase of gait is required (the red line below shows a normal example of this).enter image description here

Excessive or prolonged motion or lack of motion will cause various deformities and pathologies. Proper biomechanics allow human beings to walk, run, jump, and move freely without pain or dysfunction.

A pair of shoes off the shelf cannot be "neutral" as the topography of everyone’s foot differs. In addition, the density (hardness) of your shoe insert will vary based on your unique requirements.

To attain this neutral position, you must be assessed by a Podiatrist and have a custom orthotic (shoe insert) casted and created.


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