I’ve developed bunions, and now my shoes pinch.  How can I keep wearing them without pain?

With a synthetic shoe, there’s not much you can do.  Leather, however, often can be stretched to accommodate bunions.  The key is to stretch the leather just in one specific spot so the so doesn’t become too loose all over.  This is best done with a ball-and-ring stretcher, a device that looks a bit like a pair of pliers.  A professional shoe-repair shop can provide this service for about $12 – just be sure to explain exactly where the too-tight area is.  Often, shoes need to be stretched twice before the fit comfortably, so try them on before leaving the shop.

Do-it-yourself option: Buy your own ball-and-ring shoe stretcher ($45 at along with some leather stretching spray.


Answer from Johanna S. Youner, DPM, a podiatric surgeon in private practice and attending physician at New York Downtow Hospital, both in New York City.