Bunions and RA (unhappy feet!)

Bunions and RA (unhappy feet!)

Afternoon all, hope you're having a pleasant weekend.

I've got big ugly bunions on both feet as well as smaller bunions on the outer side of my feet :( which the podiatrist said were called bunionettes. I have always worn sensible, supportive shoes from proper shoe shops. I've never worn high heels as I had very hypermobile ankles and repeated ligament injuries as a child. Given that I've always worn proper shoes and I'm only 28, I was a bit miffed. The podiatrist said it was RA related but I always thought bunions were wear and tear and associated them with older people.

I'm seeing rheum next month, so I will mention it but in the mean time, I'd be interested in other people's experiences. Also, I'm curious if it affects you with finding shoes. My orthotics are thick and my feet are wide anyway, that's before you throw RA swelling and bunions into the mix! I manage in the winter because I wear boots but I struggle with finding lighter shoes e.g. trainers or even sandals.

Thanks in advance.

13 Replies

  • I have a bunionette too - from RA. It developed very fast during a flare so definately not wear and tear. Yes you can get them from general wear and tear, bad shoes etc. The little ones on outside toe are also called tailor's bunions as they used to get them from sitting cross legged. But can also develop as a result of inflamed joints.

    Mine is quite new, and the rheumy I saw in September injected steroid into that joint which seems to have stopped it developing further. But still have to wear boats rather than shoes. Most recently I went into a specialist walking/climbing etc shop and after trying on many, many pairs of men's shoes (ouch, from swapping inserts so many times) came away with a pair of lightweight walking shoes that look more like reasonably smart trainers and are amazingly comfortable. Expensive, as twice what I normally pay (at least) but since these are now what I wear all the time it's worth it.

  • There was a post on here not so long ago on the same subject. The consensus opinion seemed to be that RD for many of the folk on here, was the cause of them. My feet are way worse than my hands & yet my Rheumy pays little attention to them. I've had to off load most of my shoes 👠 (not that I had many pairs 😉) sad but realistic, I won't be wearing them again. I wear uggs flip-flops & trainers 👟 but even those I'm struggling with these days. 😢

  • Have you tried Sketchers wide fit ? Since I developed RA 3 years ago these are the only shoes I can wear as I suffer from bunions and swelling and have to buy eee fit shoes.


  • Oh dear.....sounds like my feet!

    RA hasn't affected my feet thank goodness as I already have big,wide feet and bunions.......not a pretty sight!

    I've had bunions since my 20s, I was told mine were hereditary, my mum has them. I can't remember ever seeing my feet straight. There is an op they can do but I wouldn't consider that unless they were affecting my mobility and my mum still walks miles each day with hers and is in her 80s.

    I've always had to shop for big,wide shoes and pretty strappy sandals are a no no. I too have discovered sketchers and absolutely love them. Just need a suitable pair for winter now.

  • Thank you for the replies. I hadn't considered that a steroid injection into the joints may help. I hate steroids in my feet as it makes me so queasy but it may give me some relief. It's less the pain and more the loss of mobility which is causing the issues.

    Thanks for ideas on shoes. I used to wear Sketchers but I haven't looked for a few years. Ideally, I'd like smart but comfy shoes for work.

    Nobody in my family has bunions, so I don't think it's hereditary. There isn't even much osteoarthritis in my family either. I've been very unfortunate in the muscularskeletal department.

  • I have a large bunion on my right foot, it's definitely aggravated by my RA. I have worn Fit Flop sandals for years as they were kind to my knees too, reducing impact. Last year I bought a pair of their ballet pumps, they were expensive but look smart & I wore them every day to work. They recommend you buy half a size larger than normal shoes, but I can wear them for 8 hours & not even notice the bunion. They also come in lots of colours & designs, I've also got a pair of their suede sneakers. Check out Amazon or EBay for offers.

  • Hi I had a massive bunion on my left foot that developed over the first few years of my RA (so mid twenties onwards). In 2006 for some reason my Rheumy saw my foot (might have been in sandals or something) and had a fit as he didn't know about it and it was affecting my gait as the big toe was drifting right over next toe etc. I hadn't mentioned it as it didn't hurt, just very disfigured and a pain with shoes. He said it was absolutely RA related and I needed to get it sorted so whisked off a referral to the orthopaedic surgeon who also said no I couldn't wait until my twins were at school (they were 2 then) and I had it operated on in summer 2007. All fine. Now I have the another one developing on my right foot, and each foot has a tailors bunion but none as severe in terms of disfigurement as the first one. But again there is no pain. I am not sure how quickly things would progress now as there is a big difference in the NHS money pot for surgery...

    Yes sadly, I have similar shoe issues!

  • The surgery sounds pretty intense. Well, the recovery afterwards. How did you find it? My neighbour had bunion surgery and she spent many weeks recovering.

    I don't know if I'd qualify for NHS surgery as while it looks pretty bad, it's not as horrendous as the worst possible cases. That said, I'm not keen on any surgery.

    Wow, twins and RA, I salute you! I nannied for gorgeous twins but that was so draining. I loved it but at least I got to go home at the end of the day.

  • Years ago, when I got my first DAS score, I was told that feet aren't taken into account when assessing painful joints. I still don't know why.

  • I think they found that it took too long in an average rheum consultation period and when they did DAS with feet, the overall score was not different when compared to measuring DAS without feet. Also, the small joints are well buried and not easy to examine. You may be unlucky, like me, and have the worst affected disease in your feet and ankles. I'd hope that a rheumatologist would treat each patient as an individual.

  • I think we're amongst many who's feet are worst affected Sophie & as such my previous Consultants dealt with them instead of ignoring them as seems to happen all too often in the UK. That said mine are included in examinatons now the damage has been acknowledged (& I've nagged long enough!) though of course they're not included in the DAS 28, but it does concern me as far as qualifying conditions for biologics, if the time comes, because that would mean other joints which are included in the DAS would need to be affected. I was told they're not included as damage could be caused many other things, we walk on them & they're susceptible so I suppose it's a valid point. I do think though that concession should be made if they were a problem from the get go, or as in my case, the only apparently affected joints at diagnosis, until screening & images were done that is. The profile of my big toe was showing the possibility of bunions forming on both feet & also taylor's bunion's, only one remains & that's on my right foot. I think that was due to early medical intervention, I went to my GP a month after first having problems, diagnosed & treatment started a little over fortnight later, so six weeks from initial signs.

  • I had a bunion operation in my early fifties, was dx with RA when I was 40. I didn't have any pain after and a reasonable recovery time. Was able to wear flat shoes for a few years, good enough for work, however my RA is mainly in my feet and hands. I have had triple foot fusions in both feet. My toes pinned in my right foot. Have a collapsed right ankle for two years., and can't face the 2 Ops needed, so managing it. Back to the shoes, I can only wear men's trainers with hospital made orthotics and a pair of old hotter 6 year old boots in the winter. I love clothes, so look good till you get to my feet !!! Lol.

  • All very interesting comments. Thank you for posting them.

You may also like...