A bunion is the bony deformity that occurs at the base of the big toe. Bunions often form in response to changes in the joint position of the big toe, referred to as Hallux Valgus. Hallux Valgus occurs when the joint of the great toe moves out of alignment, deviating towards the lesser toes, and the joint centre to move towards the midline. This joint change can be painful and disruptive, causing crowding of the lesser toes, widening of the forefoot, and difficulties fitting footwear.
If you have developed a bunion, or your big toe is starting to drift and crowd the lesser toes, it’s important to know your options and to consider them as early as possible. There are several conservative options that can be explored before surgery.
Splinting options can help alleviate joint pain by re-aligning the great toe at night. While the re-alignment is not permanent, several splints provide this off-loading relief throughout your downtime while you rest. Several styles, including the Silipos Day & Night Gel Bunion Night Splint, have a hinge to allow you to wear it around the house as well.
Bunion splints can help decrease joint pain and slow the progression of Hallux Valgus, delaying the need for surgery as long as possible
Another option for use inside your footwear is the silicone toe spacer. Designed out of medical-grade soft silicone, these gel bunion spacers can be worn within any footwear with enough room to accommodate them.
Bunion toe spacers are typically worn between the first and second toe, gently discouraging the great toe from pressing against the second toe.
Custom toe spacers are another option that is often used when there are more complex concerns with the toes, or when more than two toes are involved. Your SoleScience Pedorthist can craft a custom bunion toe spacer in-office during a regularly scheduled appointment.
Shoe Stretching and Modifications
There are always cases where footwear needs a little “extra help” in accommodating hard-to-fit feet. In these cases, we often use specialized shoe stretchers to give that little bit of extra space where you need it most! We have several shoe stretchers to increase width, depth and even spot stretch areas to accommodate for bunions. Talk to your Pedorthist about how they can help you get that personalized fit.
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Custom Foot Orthotics and Footwear
Depending on your foot type and individual biomechanics, custom orthotics can help to control excessive movement, support or realign the foot to reduce pressure on the 1st MTP (ball of the big toe). In cases where movement is restricted, or the foot is more rigidly structured, orthotics may act to re-distribute pressure over the bottom of the foot and reduce focal pressure on the 1st MTP.
Buying the Right Shoes for Bunions
Getting in the right shoes can make a world of difference in your pain and ability to do the things you love. There are a few key features to keep in mind when shopping for shoes to ensure your feet have the space they need to move with you, and that your day is not limited by your bunion pain
How to Choose the Best Shoes for Bunion Pain
Finding shoes made from materials that have a natural stretch, like leather, can increase comfort. Also, look for shoes without seams over the bunion area to avoid additional pressure and friction. Finally, looking for shoes with a wide, deep toe box and a forefoot rocker can provide additional comfort. For more information on what to look for when shopping for shoes for bunions, check out our blog.
Need help navigating your options to treat your bunions and avoid surgery? We can help! Contact us today to see one of our expert Pedorthists and learn which options can help you get back on your feet today!