Bunions, scientifically known as hallux valgus, is a foot condition. This happens when the big toe leans near the second toe. When this happens, the big toe joint isn't in its normal anatomical position. This misalignment will then lead to a bump. Now you can imagine how a bunion support brace can be of help.
Bone diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can serve as a predisposing factor for bunion. Ill-fitting shoes, especially those with smaller sizes, can also be one reason why bunions develop. It may also be because of their feet anatomy.
Studies show that bunions are most likely to be experienced by adolescent girls from ages 10 to 15— the reason being girls around this age experience gradual growth, which could prompt them to change their footwear.
Since the big toe is not in its usual position, you would expect to feel some pain because of it. Here are the usual symptoms experienced when you have a bunion:
- Consistent pain in the feet or toe area
- Limited movement of the big toe
- Calluses - develops when the big toe and second toe rub against each other due to friction
- Bulging bump on the outside surface of the big toe
- Soreness, swelling, or redness
You or someone close to you may have a bunion right now. The question that's going through your mind might be, "what can I do to treat my bunion pain?" Thankfully, a bunion support brace can easily solve your problems - and yes, they do work!
Bunion supports, correctors, and spacers can help separate the big toe from the second toe. Bunion braces help keep the joint loose and can provide some relief. Consistently using arch supports can also slow down the progression of the big toe's stiffness.
It's important to note that support braces are only helpful for deformities that can still be corrected. Bunion supports are only preventive and not corrective. This means supports and correctors can only help prevent the progression of the disease, but they will not address the root cause of the problem. This is most especially true if the bunion is of the arthritic type.
Since support braces are only part of the preventive measures, you may feel some pain when these are removed. But these support braces are enough to address temporary pain and can help you go throughout your day. The key here is to use the bunion arch support consistently to alleviate the pain you might be feeling without it.
Bunions aren't exactly a major disease wherein you'd have to worry about it spreading throughout your body. It doesn't work that way. The pain is localized within that area. Although it's nothing serious, you can't expect it to go away without any treatment or preventive measures.
Bunions do not go away without treatment. You either have to undergo surgery or use bunion support shoes. It's also important to know that clinical factors may or may not be the cause of all bunions. Genetics and lifestyle also contribute to the development of bunions. If this is the case you're faced with, you may notice that other forms of treatment, except surgery, won't be of help. Preventive methods such as wearing bunion shoes or arch supports would be helpful in these cases.
9 Ways to Treat Bunion Without Surgery
Wear bunion pads.
Bunion pads are designed to relieve the pressure from the affected big toe joint. It redistributes the pressure away from the bunion, which can help alleviate any pain you might be feeling.
When buying a bunion pad, test it first for a while. See if you feel any pressure-reduction in that area. Some would experience bunion pads that feel more constricting and can make the bump even worse. Bunion pads also provide a cushion on the big toe area. It contributes very minimally for toe separation and correction, so you would need a bunion separator for that.
Wear bunion arch support.
Bunion pads aren't the only way to relieve pressure from your big toe. You can also get a bunion arch support, and it will do the same. The only difference with this type of support is that it focuses on the arch more than the toe itself. But the results will be the same - it takes off an immense amount of pressure on the bunion area.
There is a lot of commercially available orthotic arch support you can get. But if you have the means to get custom bunion support, then get custom ones instead of those available commercially. These custom arch supports are more reliable, but they are more expensive. Cheaper alternatives are Superfeet or Powerstep bunion arch supports. These are two well-known brands in the orthotics field.
Wear specialized socks.
If you don't want to buy bunion support braces or anything that would concentrate on the bunion area, you can wear specialized socks instead. These socks aren't made from cotton. Cotton is extremely soft and can result in your toes constantly rubbing against each other when you're moving. The same goes with socks with seams on the toe area. These also cause friction and can result in increased pain and inflammation in the bunion area.
Seamless socks are recommended, along with socks made from spandex and wool. Compression socks can also help reduce friction. But take note that if you have diabetes or have a high sugar level, you should avoid wearing compression socks to address your bunion pain. This type of socks will restrict blood flow to your feet.
Don't wear slippers.
If you're used to wearing slippers at home, this can trigger pain in the bunion area. Slippers and other narrowed-footwear can squish your toes (particularly the big toe) for it to all fit inside. As an alternative to slippers, you can start wearing bunion support instead.
Bunion support shoes reduce pressure and friction on the bunion more than slippers and common footwear does. Some people aren't keen on the idea of wearing arch supports, especially when they're at home since it might not be comfortable for them to do so. But bunion support braces are actually comfortable— these are designed with comfort and support in mind!
Wear wide shoes.
Symptoms of bunion manifest whenever the feet are constricted. This is the reason why you should always wear comfortable and wide shoes. Wearing narrow footwear such as shoes with tapered toe caps can significantly increase the chances of you feeling pain in your bunion area. Since the space is limited, all your toes are squished in together.
Wide shoes can alleviate the pressure you're feeling on your foot. Choosing this instead of narrow ones can significantly decrease the chances of getting any pain, redness, blistering, and swelling on your bunion.
The same goes for heels. If you have a bunion, you shouldn't wear heels. This also puts pressure on your foot’s arch and toes. So for the ladies, you may have to choose other footwear. Leave some room in the toe area. Choose shoes that properly fit you. Avoid those that are too tight as this can trigger bunion symptoms.
Use toe separators.
Some people are not comfortable wearing support braces or compression socks— so if you're one of them, we recommend using a toe separator instead. These are less bulky compared to bunion supports and correctors. Separators are placed in between the big and second toes. This will prevent these toes from rubbing against each other. They are different from bunion support as separators only prevent friction between the toes while supports relieve pressure from the arch and bunion.
Put ice on the bunion area.
Putting ice on the inflamed or swelling bunion area for at least 10 minutes every night can reduce the pain. This is effective, especially if you've been walking all day. At the end of the day, you'd want to relieve some pressure on those areas. You can also reduce inflammation in the bunion when you constantly ice the area every night.
Apply topical pain-relief gel.
When the swelling or inflammation gets more severe and bunion correctors aren't enough, you may resort to applying gel pain relievers in that area. The only downside with topical gels is these give you temporary relief. It's only recommended for situations wherein you cannot take the pain anymore or it gets too uncomfortable. Applying gel on the bunion area may not be sustainable as you're constantly doing it.
Do foot exercises.
People with bunions and weak foot muscles experience intense pain and walking problems. So if you already have a bunion, you can lessen the pain in that area by strengthening your foot muscles. You can achieve this by doing different foot exercises. You may do these exercises daily or every other day:
1. Lift your toes while your heel is on the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds and release. Do this for both feet.
2. Adapt the same position with that of step 1. This time, spread your toes and hold them for 5 seconds before releasing them.
3. Put your feet flat on the floor, then bend your knees. Hold this position while you stand on your toes. Make sure to put pressure on your big toe. Hold it for 5 seconds, then release.
It would be best if you are barefoot when doing these exercises. Repeat it five times for each foot or until your foot muscles feel heavy. When they're heavy, this means that you've stretched it well enough. You'll also feel a huge relief after doing these exercises.
Bunions can be pretty annoying to have. With it, you'll feel uncomfortable while walking or be in constant pain every time you move. Various factors may cause bunions— it can be because you're born with it (genetics) or acquired through lifestyle. But it’s important you know how you can manage this. You can do this by wearing bunion support braces. Don't let bunions get in your way!