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Bunions? Questions, Answers, Solutions
A bunion - a bony - is an often painful hump at the base of the big toe. Bunions form at a joint. That’s where the toe bends normally when you walk or dance on demi-pointe. But when you have a bunion, all of your body weight rests on it each time you take a step. Having a bunion means your big toe may lean slightly toward your other toes. Over time, the base of the big toe pushes outward against the first metatarsal bone, which is directly behind it. This usually happens to people with greek shape of foot (the second toe is longer than the first) and it can hurt even when they walk and much more when they put on your pointe shoes.
A bunion is harmless for an everyday life, but for dancers it can be an issue which needs immediate analysis, in order not to feel pain when dancing en pointe. This, of course, doesn't mean you can't dance, but you do have to look after your feet health and to be more careful and cognizant of the ways you can handle this issue. You could either see a podiatrist for learning more details about your feet and bunions, or just go for a pointe shoe fitting appointment (or go for both solutions). A fitter can surely tell you all the information you need to know about your feet and all the ways and possible solutions for each issue. So, when you are getting fitted for pointe shoes, make sure that your fitter is aware of the bunions, if they are painful or not.
Possible solutions, concerning not only the fitting process but also the DIY options, refer to suitable pointe shoe models and padding, as well as some tool - equipment to prevent the further damage.
There are pointe shoe models which are developed to have more space on the box's sides for bunions. If the pain is still there, try changing the box height (custom-make a pair or, with R-class models, just go from V2 to V3 option). Just make sure your pointe shoes are fitted correctly so the pressure in the box is even. Let's find out some basic pointe shoe models options when having bunions:
1. "Miracle" by Grishko.
2. "Brava" by Russian Pointe.
3. "Pavlova" & "Karsavina" by Siberian Swan (Depending on the foot shape).
If you are lucky enough one of the above pointe shoe models will may matches your feet shape. If not, or if you still feel pain, we have some DIY solutions to propose you:
1. You can cut the box of the pointe shoe and sew it back in order to create space for your bunion.
2. You can dampen the part of the pointe shoe where your bunion is. This way the pointe shoe will "open" there and some space for your bunion will be created.
3. (General tip): Don't go for pointe shoes with plastic shanks - unfortunately they don't help at all when having bunions.
Last but not least, when having bunion issues, PADDING is a life-saver! Your fitter (or your podiatrist, who has to know very well the function of the pointe shoes!) can inform you about the correct padding which you will be supposed to put on every time you put on your pointe shoes. Also, if your foot type is greek but without bunions, if there is an empty space between the first and the second toe, the pressure inside the pointe box will push the first toe inside. Find a way to fill this space every time: try gel spacers, or separators etc.
Let's see a difficult fitting case to understand better the fitting procedure concerning the bunions issue:
It is very rare and unique to see feet issues co existing that usually don't go together. Iska, a 45 year old woman who lives in Augsburg (Germany), used to dance when she was a little girl, stopped and started dancing again before 7 years. She has bunions on her square sized feet (left foot), and years ago she had a bunion surgery on her right foot - there is a small difference when going on relevé, as she also had tore the ligaments. She firstly had Bloch pointe shoes (too tight for her) and then went on to Grishkos 2007 (xxxx, size 6, M Shank), which felt OK but couldn't help her because of their hard shank - as she told "I think they do not fit correctly".
As far as her measurements are concernced, her right foot is street size 38, whereas her left one is 39 ( Right foot : lenght 23,5 cm, width 9,5 cm, fullness 22 cm / Left foot : lenght 24,2 cm, width 9,5 cm, fullness 23 cm ). Taking them into account, Grishkos 2007 are not the suitable option for her - as she felt it herself - but Grishkos "Triumph" (size 5 or 5,5 with padding, xxxx, M) would be so much better for her ! When it comes to the quite big length difference between the right and left foot, she could consider buying two different size pairs in the future.
"We have a shop in the nearest big city but I don't like the service - not watching the feet, only tell you try try try and you don't know what to choose. Also they do not have a big selection. I'm really glad I found somebody like you and your Service."
Feel also free to fill out our questionnaire and have in mind to mention your problem to help you - let’s get fitted!.