Do I have to stop wearing my high heels?

Getty ImagesGetty ImagesIn her book What the Yuck?! Dr. Roshini Raj fields your most personal and provocative questions-about your body, sex, even celeb health fads.

Q: I've developed some ugly, painful bunions. Do I have to stop wearing my high heels?

A:
Any shoe that pinches your feet could aggravate a bunion, so you need to be sure you're giving your feet the room they need. Bunions form when bone grows abnormally at the base of the big toe in the joint between your toe and foot. As they develop, they turn the big toe inward toward the smaller toes, and the enlarged joint can become inflamed, red, and painful. Though most bunions are inherited, a narrow shoe with a small toe box can sometimes cause them.

Health.com: Find the perfect shoe

Make sure any style that you wear provides at least a half-inch of space between the end of your longest toe and the shoe tip. The shoe should conform to the shape of your foot and be comfortable across the widest part. (A recent study said most of us wear shoes a size too small!)

Health.com: Why wearing high heels can make wearing flats painful

How you walk also could be part of the problem. Placing too much stress on the big toe or inside of your foot can cause bunions and a host of other problems, including back pain.

Health.com: Happy feet at any age

If your bunions hurt, see a podiatrist. She may suggest special padding for your shoes or medication to reduce the swelling and pain. Also, orthotic shoes or inserts may help keep your feet in the right position as you walk.