We wear shoes for most of our life. From infancy, we wear shoes to keep us warm, and as we grow up, we wear them for protection. Suffice to say, shoes are part of our daily lives.
However, our biology actually didn't completely take shoes into consideration in our evolution as a species. In ancient times, our ancestors didn't wear any protective cover on their feet and were just as comfortable barefoot. Over time, our bodies haven't fully adjusted to wearing shoes at all.
There are even some traditions that cause harm to the feet by wearing unusual footwear. A famous example of this is the ancient tradition of foot binding previously practiced in China. People in the past took small feet as a sign of wealth because it meant that you wouldn't need to walk around as much. Hence, your feet won't be exercised and stretched as you grow older. That rang true during their time because nobles would travel by palanquin carried by servants or slaves.
For the longest time, shoes have been a sign of affluence, not just in China but also in the west. When you wear remarkable shoes, you exude a certain aura that people see. And it's true because wearing certain shoes actually helps your posture and forces you to stand up straighter or walk slower.
High heels, for example, are a staple in a woman's wardrobe. Women from different backgrounds have worn high heels at least once in their lives. And for working women, wearing heels every day is as common as wearing clothes.
One very common foot pain gotten from high heels or uncomfortable shoes is bunions. Bunions are protrusions on the big toe joint or hallux valgus that connects to the rest of the foot. These are painful and caused by the toes being constantly shoved in a tight space with no room for movement for long and extended periods of time.
The natural formation of the toes is disrupted, and as a result, the joint of the big toe or the small toe swells up to accommodate the unusual position of the foot. To add to the distress, wearing high heels puts additional pressure on the balls of the feet. Your center of gravity shifts from being distributed through the whole foot to being focused on the balls of the feet for balance. That is why women are more likely to develop big toe pain than men.
Over time, the constant pressure and misalignment becomes painful and can be irreversible in extreme cases. Most patients would need to undergo surgery to alleviate the bunion fully. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to prevent bunions, even if you wear a pair of heels for work.
Other Effective Bunion Remedies
There are many remedies available for alleviating bunion pain and preserving your feet. These remedies are not long-term solutions, however. Some commonly advertised products you can find when researching ways to ease your bunion pain are toe spacers, bunion pads, and big toe splints.
If you've gone to a beauty salon to get your nails done, you're probably familiar with toe spacers or toe separators. It looks very similar to what nail technicians use to get your pedicure done. The only difference with bunion toe spacers is the material it's made of. Instead of the usual foam toe spacers, bunion toe spacers are made from silicone or gel. The idea is to cool down your feet and separate the toes for better toe alignment using a material that can be kept at lower temperatures without hardening or melting.
Heat alleviates the pain of an inflamed hallux valgus or bunion. So having a pair of cold toe spacers can help you temporarily.
Bunion pads are different from toe spacers because they don't treat toe misalignment directly. Instead, they are used to prevent friction with your shoes. Most bunion pads are inserted into the shoe or socks and used every day. It's a solution for working men and women who don't necessarily wear heels but are still on their feet all day long.
No matter how comfortable shoes are marketed with additional focus on things like memory foam soles, if it's too tight, it will still cause bunions in the long run because of heat from the friction of constantly rubbing skin against the inside material of shoes. Hence, bunion pads are the solution.
Toe spacers and bunion pads certainly help ease bunion pain. However, both are meant to be used at specific times only. Toe spacers are great when you are lounging comfortably at home after a hard day's work. They can't really be worn inside shoes or other footwear because their sole purpose is to correct the position of your feet.
On the other hand, bunion pads are great when you are working every day and don't want your bunion to flare up. It's great to wear with your shoes, but when you're at home and can afford to let your feet breathe, you don't really need a bunion pad because there's no pressure pushing down on your bunion all the time.
The best bunion splints combine the use of both toe spacers and bunion pads in one device. It looks very much like the wrist support you wear when you injure your hand, but instead of being hooked around your thumb, it's hooked around your big toe.
Thankfully, you don't have to know how to make a bunion splint these days. So where to buy toe splints? Your local drugstore has them, or you could also order them online.
Unlike toe spacers or bunion pads, most bunion splints are not entirely silicone or gel. These serve as toe alignment splints and are usually a combination of both comfortable fabrics that's not scratchy to the skin and a little gel or silicone to brace the actual bunion. It's basically an upgraded version of a bunion pad that you could wear with or without your shoes.
Most bunion splints are made of free size, which allows you to wear them no matter how big your foot is. It also accommodates your bunion no matter how swollen it has become.
Bunions can develop in anyone because of two factors: lifestyle and anatomy. Yes, the anatomy of your feet can lead to you developing bunions later in life. The way some people's feet are naturally positioned can be susceptible to form bunions. Sometimes the big toe is naturally inclined towards the other toes. However, it's not a certainty, especially if you take proper care of your feet early on. Then, you'll never have to ask, "how long does it take for a bunion splint to correct your feet?"
Lifestyle choices, on the other hand, can be hard to avoid. We stand on our feet, so we don't see it most of the time. If your job involves standing, walking, or running around every day, after a while, your muscles get used to it, so you don't even notice your feet unless it hurts.
There is nothing wrong with training your muscles, but no matter how well-oiled a machine is, it's still going to malfunction over time. Your feet are a part of the well-oiled machine that keeps you standing.
A good thing in the modern age is that people invented devices like toe spacers, bunion pads, and bunion splints to use wherever you are. You can get by with the pain because of these inventions.
When you are working, you can use a bunion pad to cushion the swollen joint or a bunion splint for a double-action remedy or properly align your toes and cushion your joints. When you're at home, you can rest with toe spacers and even wear a bunion splint to sleep.
You might ask, are bunion splints effective? Well, no matter how good a remedy is, it still remains just that, a remedy. It's no permanent cure for bunions. Today, the only proven treatment that could completely erase a bunion is bunion surgery.
Sometimes, surgery is needed for extreme cases where the bunion prevents someone from walking or even standing normally. It's a drastic solution, but it's there if you need it.
Bunion splints are made for people who feel pain in their big toe joints. Sometimes the best you can do with a bunion is to accept that it's there and that it will be painful if you don't use remedies like a bunion splint.
Nothing compares to surgery in treating bunions, absolutely, but nothing comes close to taking care of your feet in the first place. So while you still don't have this condition, be careful with your feet. Let them breathe once in a while, go around your house barefoot, and eat healthily. Prevention is better than cure, especially with a bunion.