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#161421 - 01/29/12 01:38 PM Success with bunions?
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
My wife has a bunion that has really taken off over the past year. This makes our hikes and treks a little less fun as you might imagine. We are getting closer to our trek in the Dolomites and I am trying to make it as enjoyable as possible for her. Unfortunately, there is this bunion thing.... Has anyone out there developed a strategy for dealing with bunions while backpacking?

Thank you very much in advance, sK

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#161427 - 01/29/12 04:28 PM Re: Success with bunions? [Re: skcreidc]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By skcreidc
My wife has a bunion that has really taken off over the past year. This makes our hikes and treks a little less fun as you might imagine. We are getting closer to our trek in the Dolomites and I am trying to make it as enjoyable as possible for her. Unfortunately, there is this bunion thing.... Has anyone out there developed a strategy for dealing with bunions while backpacking?

Thank you very much in advance, sK


lambs' wool. my wife swears by it. just pack a little around it for cushioning.

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#161434 - 01/29/12 07:09 PM Re: Success with bunions? [Re: phat]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
No short term fix here sorry. My wife had surgery and what I call front end alighnment. They sawed both feet and realigned toes. Guess what 25 years later it is coming back!

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#161459 - 01/30/12 11:49 AM Re: Success with bunions? [Re: skcreidc]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1143
Loc: Washington State, King County
I have bunionettes, i.e., little toe side bunions. My foot doctor gave me the choice of either surgery or wide-toed footwear. I've been using wide-toed shoes ever since and have no problems.

Well, it can be a problem picking shoes; some shoes that look like they should work don't, and it can take tens of miles, really about 50 miles of backpacking before I can be confident that the shoes I'm wearing will work.

In terms of specific brands, I used to like golites, but they changed their 'last' (mold) so that they got just that small incremental bit narrower so that I started having problems with newer models. Now I use an Asic brand Gel-Kahana model in 4E width, sized up 1 to 1-1/2 above my nominal foot size. These are very comfortable for me for all sorts of use. But male vs. female, bunion vs. bunionette, and just the general wide range of foot dynamics and preferences -- who knows.

If instead of trail shoes she's inclined to heavy poorly breathing boots then --- I have not a clue. My foot doctor, despite the suggestion of wide toed footwear, periodically tries to convince me to wear boots but apart from all the other ills boots offer, I've not run into any that I'm sure are wide enough in the toe area. Certainly none of the ones my foot doctor generically suggested for other issues would have worked. Great foot doctor I've got, but of course he and the vast majority of his colleagues have no long distance hiking experience personally.
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#161492 - 01/30/12 10:54 PM Re: Success with bunions? [Re: BrianLe]
tramp Offline
member

Registered: 01/24/12
Posts: 66
Loc: WV
For a trip like The Dolemites I'd consider the expense of custom footwear or at the very least orthotics. Perhaps finding a good cobbler to alter existing broken in footwear might bring relief.

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#161508 - 01/31/12 04:02 AM Re: Success with bunions? [Re: tramp]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1143
Loc: Washington State, King County
Custom footwear might indeed be a good call, if a person really understands the dynamics of what they need, or perhaps a foot doctor is involved in the design (?).

I don't see how orthodics would help here, however. I have and use orthodics, but don't see a connection with bunions. Not saying there isn't one (feet are complicated), just that I don't see it.
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#161510 - 01/31/12 06:49 AM Re: Success with bunions? [Re: BrianLe]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Patty wears the Keen Targhee II's. They are a mid lighweight hiking boot. Interestingly, the earlier model seemed to cause less problems for her although she says she likes these. It's kind of a "which came first question; the chicken or the egg" problem. Did the new model, which fit just a little differently than the older more comfortable one, help exacerbate the bunion on her big toe or was it just time for it to grow? Personally, I suspect the newer model of the boot.


She has seen a number of podiatrist's over the years (we have two plaster casts of her feet stashed in the closet)and we have orthodics that seem to work. But you all got me to thinking more about her footwear. A few years back we were very involved in the 3 day 60 mile walk's for breast cancer which she trained for and did quite well with. First thing is that she wore those walking tennis shoes. Secondly, the toe socks. Not a single blister or sore spot on her feet after either event.

Maybe trail runners might be the ticket. The Dolomites are pretty rugged, but that is what these things are designed for right?


Edited by skcreidc (01/31/12 06:53 AM)

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#161514 - 01/31/12 08:42 AM Re: Success with bunions? [Re: BrianLe]
tramp Offline
member

Registered: 01/24/12
Posts: 66
Loc: WV
Originally Posted By BrianLe
Custom footwear might indeed be a good call, if a person really understands the dynamics of what they need, or perhaps a foot doctor is involved in the design (?).

I don't see how orthodics would help here, however. I have and use orthodics, but don't see a connection with bunions. Not saying there isn't one (feet are complicated), just that I don't see it.


The combination of the aforementioned wide boots (to accommodate the bunion) and custom orthotics for a good fit was what I meant to communicate. Looking back I wasn't that clear. Izzat better?

What I meant about the cobbler is a good one can stretch here and there to make the boot fit feet better than a common last does.


Edited by tramp (01/31/12 08:43 AM)

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#161524 - 01/31/12 02:01 PM Re: Success with bunions? [Re: skcreidc]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1143
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
Maybe trail runners might be the ticket. The Dolomites are pretty rugged, but that is what these things are designed for right?

This is one of those issues about which folks can respond with almost religious zeal, but FWIW my experience with long distance backpacking has all been in trail runners, in as rugged conditions as I think anyone would care to name.

At this point, the only times I'll consider using boots are (1) a straight-up and serious mountain climb, in which case I'd go directly to plastic boots and bypass any of the "in between" options, or (2) In some cases in early to middle winter boots can be good. But in fact I'm content in trail runners in snow generally too, sometimes using Neos overshoes. Because, indeed, once you have footwear that doesn't hurt you, you tend to want to push the envelope to using that footwear whereever you reasonably can.

All that said I've not been in the Dolomites. When my wife and I did some hut-to-hut hiking in the Alps in late 2010, we did find that whenever we got into a hut (where one always removes outdoor footwear), ours were the only trail runners every time. Europeans don't seem to have caught on to the concept that a person can go without boots and survive! :-)
To be fair, I found the east coast of the U.S. a bit more like that too, more boots on trail on the AT than on the PCT.

I do suggest that she try out a trip of decent length in trail runners, somewhere domestic, and not be experimenting with new footwear in Italy.
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http://postholer.com/brianle

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#161544 - 01/31/12 05:02 PM Re: Success with bunions? [Re: BrianLe]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Quote:
I do suggest that she try out a trip of decent length in trail runners, somewhere domestic, and not be experimenting with new footwear in Italy.


My thoughts exactly Brian. That's why I jumping on this now. All I have to do is convince her to act. grin

I'm passing everything along, including the lambs wool padding idea.


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#161548 - 01/31/12 05:29 PM Re: Success with bunions? [Re: skcreidc]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6368
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I have horrendous bunions, but have had no problem with them since I switched from boots to trail runners with a wide forefoot. I also use fairly thick socks and use "Body Glide" on the protruberances to avoid blistering. No blisters since I made the switch several years ago!

The bunions seem to be hereditary. My mother had them, I developed them at about age 45 despite always having been extra careful about shoe fit, and two of my four children (both male and in their 40's) have developed them. Mine developed at the same time my metatarsal arches "fell."


Edited by OregonMouse (01/31/12 05:29 PM)
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#161581 - 02/01/12 12:12 PM Re: Success with bunions? [Re: OregonMouse]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Well, we may be making progress. I have talked her into trying on some trail runners. Next step; into some stores to try some on.

Last night she found something called a bunion boot. Anybody ever try one of these? Looks like it tries to leverage your big toe out.

bunion bootie


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#161607 - 02/01/12 10:38 PM Re: Success with bunions? [Re: skcreidc]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1143
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
"Next step; into some stores to try some on."

Take care not to be disheartened if you don't find anything suitable in a local shoestore or outfitter. I tend to not have a lot of luck unless the selection and range of brands is quite large.

What I've been hiking in of late is Asic brand trail runners in 4E width, Gel Kahana model --- FWIW.

My recollection is that some online shoe stores have a pretty good/easy return policy so a person could try out a pair of shoes (just in your living room, I think it you hit pavement you've bought 'em ?). Try zappos.com as at least one example. Even if you don't buy at zappos, I like the different photos/views they offer of the shoes, so you can get a really clear look at how the toebox is shaped (both from above and below, look at both). Over time I've developed a fairly good sense just from these views of how well the shoe is likely to work for me.

Then after she's walked a good number of miles in a pair, if they seem to work well for her I suggest going back and buying another pair or two now, as shoe manufacturers seem to tweak and change their models often.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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