A bunion is a condition that can affect anyone, more commonly women. This condition could start at a young age and progress in severity as the person's age increases.
One reason why a bunion is left untreated is ignorance. A person only learns about a condition when the foot's appearance becomes odd or suffers pain. It may be too late for treatment, and surgery would be warranted by the time that happens.
That's why it's essential to recognize a bunion at an early stage. More importantly, you have to be practical about your preventive treatment measures once you have identified the condition, and a bunion splint is a practical way to treat it.
Know if you have bunions
A bunion, also known as Hallux Valgus, is a bulge at the base of your big toe (hallux) that causes it (hallux) to become misaligned and overlap on your index toe. This condition can be treated when identified early, but in some cases, it would require bunion surgery, depending on the severity.
It's incredible how easy it is to identify a bunion once you are aware of the condition. Just take your shoes off and examine your feet. This brief guide below will help you identify the causes and symptoms of a bunion.
Wearing tight shoes
A shoe with a toe box that's a little too tight or one that has a pointed tip may cause bunions. The tight shoe puts pressure on the side of your foot and forces it to fit on the shoe's form. Wearing tightly-fitting shoes eventually causes a bunion if the shoes are consistently worn.
If any or several of your close family members have a bunion, you are most likely susceptible to it, as bunions could be hereditary. Different foot shapes carry with them different risks. If you have inherited an Egyptian foot shape, you're more susceptible to a bunion.
Existing Inflammatory Conditions
Certain inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout could increase your risk of having a bunion. Be sure to identify (and treat) existing conditions and check with your doctor for any risk factors involving bunions.
A bulge on the big toe's base
The most identifiable symptom of a bunion is a bump on the base of your big toe. If you examine your feet and see a bulge, it may be a sign that you have a progressing bunion.
Tenderness, pain, and inflammation
If the base of your big toe is feeling tender and if it is consistently painful and inflamed when walking, standing, or sitting, it is a sign of a developed bunion.
Stiffness of the big toe's movement
Try to move your big toe. If you find that it is a bit rigid and can be painful when moved, it is a sign that you have a bunion.
Preventing bunion progression with a bunion splint
Once you've identified that you have a bunion, it's practical to prevent it from progressing. Wherever your bunion's stage of progression is, a bunion splint will help keep it from progression.
A bunion splint, also called a bunion brace or a toe-straightener, realigns your big toe by pushing it outward from your feet, thereby straightening your big toe, avoiding it from overlapping on your index toe.
The splint is worn indoors when barefooted as it cannot be fitted when wearing a shoe when going outdoors. A common practice for most would be to wear the splint before bedtime, as it is in this period when the foot is idle. It is recommended that a bunion splint be worn as frequently as possible to get the most effect out of it.
Common questions about bunion splints
How long does it take for a bunion splint to correct the toe’s alignment?
A bunion splint's function is to prevent a bunion from progressing further into something severe. It would help the person avoid toe surgery. Thus, the duration of using a bunion splint could be indefinite.
Are bunions splints effective?
The bunion splint is effective in preventing the bunion from progressing to anything severe and painful. If used frequently, the splint would keep those bunions at bay. It also alleviates pain for those who have severe bunions.
How to make a bunion splint from home
You can make a do-it-yourself bunion splint at the comfort of your home with a piece of wood (e.g., popsicle sticks) and an elastic, adjustable garter. Alternatively, you can use a thick foam, shape it as a toe separator, and then wear a sock.
However, DIY bunion splints could be low in quality and effectiveness. Buying a bunion split nowadays is more convenient than actually making one, and it is specifically designed to yield an optimum preventive and pain-relief benefit.
More often than not, a bunion is ignored for most of the person's life. Apart from a lack of knowledge about the condition, one of the primary reasons is because it's hidden, literally, most of the time. It could be attributed to our lifestyle. Wearing shoes almost every day of our lives hides our feet from our sight, enabling us to ignore it. Ironically wearing a shoe, mainly a tight one, is also one of the most common causes of bunions.
A bunion is a condition that is best identified at an early stage for it to be prevented. It could mean saving you the cost of going under the knife down the road. Once you've identified that you have a bunion, you have to take action and prevent it from worsening as soon as possible. Bunion splints are a practical preventive treatment both for the short and long term because it is convenient to obtain. Once you have one, you can use it for many years.