Bunions can be painful and debilitating, affecting almost everything that you do in your daily life, including your knees. But surgical treatment can be just as debilitating, leaving you laid up in bed for weeks at a time, not to mention the pain, possible side effects, and the expense!
You might have looked around at other options. Seen the variety of sleeves and pads available. Wondered to yourself, ‘Do bunion correctors work, and are they right for me?’
There’s a lot of options out there, some good, and some bad for your case of bunions. But as long as non-surgical treatment of bunions is your preferred option, this article will help you decide what type of bunion treatment and/or correctors you should use.
Non-surgical bunion treatment
There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that bunions are untreatable without a trip to the podiatrist and surgery. But the good news is that caught early enough, you can take measures that prevent the problem from getting worse, as well as ease any pain that you might be feeling right now.
So if you’ve started developing bunions, it’s definitely worth looking at bunion protectors and correctors.
How Do Bunion Correctors Work?
Bunion protectors are designed to;
- Protect the area around the bunion, relieving pressure and preventing the bunion from causing issues like rubbing of the skin or pain from the excessive force on the area.
- Straightening the toe back to its natural position, and attempting to prevent the joint misalignment that causes the bunion from getting worse.
- Realigning the toe itself, making day to day life simpler. Bunions can cause issues with standing and walking, whether from pain or simply having a different way of standing. By straightening your toe back into a more natural position, it becomes easier for you to live your day to day life.
There are four major types of bunion correctors available on the market. Bunion pads, bunion sleeves, bunion splints, and toe separators.
A bunion pad is a small fabric protector that is designed to sit on the bunion itself and around your big toe and metatarsophalangeal joint, (MTP joint,) reducing the pressure and pain you might feel from wearing restrictive footwear.
Bunion pads are designed to be thin and non-restrictive, which means that they should be comfortable to wear in any sort of shoes. This is definitely something to bear in mind. If you wear a bunion pad and it increases the pressure on your foot or causes you any discomfort whilst wearing it, remove it immediately.
A bunion sleeve is, in essence, a big bunion pad.
As opposed to a bunion pad, which is a small fabric sleeve that fits over and around your big toe and toes joint, a bunion sleeve covers almost your entire foot, like a sock. Because they cover more of your foot, bunion sleeves can provide that much more support and help to realign your foot more easily. But they can be that much more restrictive and are a lot hotter to wear.
Sleeves are also a lot less discrete, but they are much less likely to fall off or need adjusting throughout the day.
Depending on the type, toe separators can either be used throughout the day, like all other products on this list, as well as types designed to be used as a therapeutic measure in the home, as a daily practice.
A lot of bunion sleeves and bunion pads have toe separators built-in, so toe separators aren’t something that everyone who suffers from bunions will need, but they’re great if you generally wear a sleeve and want to take it off when you get home, you wear smaller shoes or flip flops, or your bunions aren’t too severe.
Bunion Splints are more rigid than pads and sleeves and are used to physically set the big toe into proper alignment. Some Bunion splints achieve this by pulling on the big toe, while others push the big toe in; but however the mechanism, they tend to produce a more curative effect than the other bunion products.
A Bunion Splint is typically too big to be worn with shoes and so are worn overnight just before going to bed. You should also be prepared to wear them continuously for a few weeks before you can see results.
How Long Should You Use a Bunion Corrector?
You can use Bunion correctors as long as they help to keep your bunion in check and provide relief to associated pain. For some people, this can be an entire lifetime! There is no exact rule as to when to stop using bunion correctors, but many people start to consider surgery after months of using bunion products with little to no results, or if their symptoms start getting worse. In this case, a visit to your Podiatrist is advised to discuss your options.
When Should You Consider Surgery For Bunion?
Some people usually consider Bunion surgery from the onset while others exhaust all available options. The timing and decision to go for surgery are usually based on individual preferences and could be based around symptoms like recurring pain, worsening structural condition, limitation of shoe selection and/or movement. There are over 150 different types of surgery for Bunions, and your Podiatrist will decide which operation is best for you depending on factors such as the size of your bunion and whether the second toe is affected or not.
The aim of surgery is to permanently return the big toe to its proper position and alignment and attending symptoms. However, like every surgery, there may be side effects and long recovery times.
Whilst bunions can never be completely cured without surgery, regular use of bunion sleeves or bunion pads can make a huge difference in your day to day life.
Using a product like these can relieve pressure, make it simpler to perform day to day tasks, and alleviate the pain you might be feeling. If you do choose surgery, then you need to know how to recover safely from bunion foot surgery.
If you’ve just found out you have a bunion, consider the options and try one of the above varieties of bunion products, sooner rather than later. The quicker you make the change, the better it should work for you. So now that you know the answer to the question, ‘Do bunion correctors work?’, check out these recommended products.