Susan E.B. Schwartz - Reader Blog 12

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Unidentified climbing bunions (could you blame the climber for wishing to remain anonymous?) Photo courtesy of an anonymous bunion photo donor.

Unidentified climbing bunions (could you blame the climber for wishing to remain anonymous?) Photo courtesy of an anonymous bunion photo donor.

Blog O' Bunions

To push my climbing blog into new territory, in this blog I will sink to an all-time low. Literally. Because this blog will start at the bottom. With feet. More precisely, poor, deformed, unhappy feet. Feet with bunions. Bunions are supposed to be largely genetic but exacerbated by high heels. And I wonder about the effect of climbing shoes. Recently, I was cleaning out my garage and came across a pair of my old climbing shoes that I wore in the 1990s. They were black, with purple stripes and very pointed toes. They were half the size of my foot. I can’t figure out how I squeezed my feet into those things. Last year, I don’t think even my bunions would have fit. But this set me wondering: Do climbers get more bunions than other people? This past summer, I finally bit the bullet and had a surgeon lop off both sets of bunions (i.e. no climbing for the season). Not long afterwards, I was sitting over coffee with King Grant and Brady Robinson from the Access Fund. In between discussions of important access issues, we managed to fit in sympathizing about our bunions and other foot problems. Chatting by email with Brady afterwards, he passed along these words of wisdom regarding bunions: “Now that yours are gone,” Brady informed me, “there is one downside. You've got one less move in your repertoire - the bunion hook. I have found them to be pretty handy for controlling barn doors while climbing on aretes. They really suck at edging though.” Now he tells me.

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—SEBS

Read some of Susan E.B. Schwartz's earlier posts: