Foot Health Blog
Find expert articles from physical therapists and podiatrists to help understand, diagnose, and treat different foot health issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, flat feet, and more.
Bunions7 Best Insoles for Bunions: Aid Toe AlignmentBunions are bony bumps that form at the base of the big toe joint, leading to pain, stiffness, and swelling. They can also cause discomfort while walking and difficulty wearing certain types of shoes. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons notes that bunions can be caused by various factors, including genetics, improper gait, tight or ill-fitting shoes, and certain medical conditions.
When treating bunions, the approach depends on the severity of the condition and its symptoms. Treatment options may include wearing appropriate footwear, applying ice, taking pain medications, and performing stretching and strengthening exercises. Insoles are also an effective and affordable solution to alleviate bunion symptoms and provide relief.
Benefits of Insoles for Bunions
Wearing insoles can reduce your chances of developing bunions and also help alleviate the symptoms. These insoles can reduce the pain in the big toe joint by providing additional support and cushioning. They also help to improve alignment and control the abnormal movement of the foot. This, in turn, slows down the progression of the condition. Overall, insoles improve overall foot health by providing better arch support and shock absorption.
Top 7 Insoles for Bunions
While several insoles exist in the market, finding the appropriate insole can be a game-changer. After carefully considering their distinct properties, here is a list of our top seven insoles that can aid toe alignment and alleviate pain.
Best Overall Insoles for Bunions - Upstep Bunions Custom OrthoticsBest Comfort Insoles for Bunions - URthotics Comfort+Best Support Insoles for Tailor’s Bunion - SOLE Active Medium with Met PadBest Thin Insoles for Bunions - Protalus T-100 EliteBest Foam Insoles for Bunions - FitMyFoot - ZirconBest Firm Insoles for Bunions - Tread Labs PaceBest Pain-Relieving Insoles for Bunions - Superfeet EVERYDAY Pain Relief
1. Best Overall Insoles for Bunions
Upstep Bunions Custom Orthotics are custom-made to the individual's foot shape and condition, guaranteeing a custom fit and maximum comfort. These insoles are best suited for individuals with bunion pain and those who engage in activities requiring prolonged standing or walking.
Upstep insoles are made from high-quality materials like medical-grade EVA foam, which provides excellent shock absorption and durability.
ProsCustom-made to the individual's specific foot shape and conditionMade from high-quality materialsFeature a deep heel cup to alleviate pressure on the ball of the footConsMore expensive than some over-the-counter insoles
2. Best Comfort Insoles for Bunions
The URthotics Comfort+ combine comfort and support to treat bunions. Custom-fitted to an individual's foot shape and condition, these insoles ensure maximum effectiveness. They feature contoured arch support and a metatarsal pad for even weight distribution across the foot. URthotics Comfort+ insoles are perfect for those with bunion pain and discomfort who spend extended periods on their feet.
ProsCustom-fitContoured arch supportMoisture-wicking top layer to keep feet odor-freeConsNot as durableCustomization process is not ideal for those seeking immediate reliefMore expensive than over-the-counter insoles
» Find out how to correct your bunions without surgery
3. Best Flexible Arch Support Insoles for Tailor’s Bunion
The SOLE Active Medium Insoles with Met Pad are made from a moldable EVA base layer that conforms to an individual's foot shape, ensuring maximum comfort. These insoles are suitable for anyone seeking a flexible, customizable arch support solution.
ProsFlexible arch supportIncredibly lightweightMetatarsal cushioningConsNot as durableMetatarsal pad may cause discomfort and irritationMay not be suitable for those with higher arches, wide feet, or severe overpronation
4. Best Thin Insoles for Bunions
The Protalus T-100 Elite Insoles are designed to be thin, making them an ideal choice for those who prefer a low-profile insole that provides adequate support. Consequently, they can easily fit in any shoe. They are made with patented TRI-Planar technology that provides support and cushioning to the feet.
ProsLightweight designMoisture-wicking surface to keep feet dry and coolDurable and long-lastingConsRelatively expensiveDoesn’t give a custom fitSupport not suitable for all foot needs
5. Best Foam Insoles for Bunions
FitMyFoot Zircon Insoles are made with high-density foam material, offering exceptional shock absorption and cushioning for the feet. They are ideal for individuals who stand or walk for prolonged periods or engage in high-impact activities.
ProsCustom molding featureBreathable designProvide personalized comfort and supportConsMay take some time to break inCushioning reduces as foam compressesCustom molding features are not always effective
6. Best Firm Insoles for Bunions
The Tread Labs Pace Insoles provide customizable yet firm arch support. They are perfect for those who participate in high-impact activities or need extra support and stability for their feet. Tread Labs Pace Insoles are made from high-quality materials and fit most types of shoes, making them a versatile option for anyone suffering from bunions.
ProsFirm arch supportCan fit into most shoesDurable materialConsNot suitable for those who prefer a cushioned feelNo custom-fitMay take a while to get used to
7. Best Pain-Relieving Insoles for Bunions
Superfeet EVERYDAY Pain Relief Insoles feature a contoured shape and a deep heel cup that aligns the foot and reduces stress on the heel and arch. They are designed to provide all-day comfort and pain relief for people with bunions.
ProsProvides targeted pain reliefDurable cushioningOdor-control coating to keep feet freshConsNot suitable for people who require specialized supportMay be too stiff and take time to break in
Choose the Right Insole for a Pain-Free Step
With a wide variety of insole options available, it's essential to consider your specific needs and preferences before making a decision. A quality insole like the Upstep custom orthotic can make a significant difference in your foot health, as they are tailored to fit your unique foot shape and provide targeted support where it's needed most. Always consult with a healthcare professional before choosing an insole to ensure it's the best option for your individual needs and to address any underlying issues contributing to your bunions. BunionsCan Arch Support Treat Bunions?Bunions are a common condition that affects many people across the globe. This condition has a marked bony bump on the inner side of the foot, at the joint of the big toe. Having flat feet (Pes planus) means that the weight of the body is placed on the inner side of the forefoot, which eventually leads to deformity. Pain and tenderness can occur, coupled with a progressive inward bend of the big toe towards the smaller ones as the condition slowly progresses.
This condition is commonly seen in an older population, causing a decrease in standing balance and an increased chance of falling. Wearing shoes with a narrow toe box may increase the risk of developing this condition significantly. Wearing high heels is also a risk factor for developing this condition. Bunions can progress to a stage where they may limit one's ability to walk or stand comfortably and live pain-free. Bunions can also occur in the small toe of the foot, otherwise known as bunionettes. Many people find improvement in the overall comfort and general experience of wearing arch supports.
Symptoms of Bunions
A bony bump is seen at the base of the big toe.Outward bending of the big toe towards the smaller toes.Redness and swelling around the area of the bony bump.Corns or calluses around the base of the big toe.Stiffness in the toe.A decreased mobility of the foot.
For more information on how you can further treat bunions, take a look at our post on What to Know About Exercising to Treat Tailor’s Bunions.
Relationship Between Bunions and Arch Supports
There is a strong link between strong effective arches and a slower rate of development of bunions. The role of the arch is to maintain the shape of the foot under weight-bearing, which in turn maintains the alignment of the ankle joint. Bunions develop as a result of altered foot mechanics and an increase in pressure placed onto the inner side of the forefoot. The constant pressure placed on the forefoot causes the big toe to gradually shift towards the other toes.
When the arches have fallen or they are underdeveloped from childhood, you may be at an increased risk of developing arch pain and bunions in the future. There are conservative management strategies out there to give support to the arch in the form of orthotics, in an attempt to redistribute the weight throughout the foot. Custom orthotics can be molded to the shape of your feet to maximize comfort when worn daily, by preventing pressure on the base of the first metatarsal. Orthotics can benefit you greatly in preventing bunion formation in your feet at all ages.
How Does Arch Support Help With Bunions?
Bunions are predominately caused by altered weight translation over the forefoot during continual activities. Having flat feet increases your risk of developing bunions. Arch support from orthotics can prevent the arches from collapsing under the weight, thus preventing the ankle from roll rolling inward.
Orthotics provide increased cushioning to the underside of the foot, which is especially helpful during the foot strike phase of running. This aids the inflamed area of the bunion in reducing immediate shock to the joint, thus reducing the rate of development of the bunion and pain in the area.
Types of Arch Support to Treat Bunions
Metatarsal arch supports are specifically for the metatarsal joint and are a good option for preventing aggravation of the joint and will improve overall condition. These orthotics aid in alignment to restore normal flexion in the big toe through a maintained foot arch. Plantar or foot arch supports work to support and redistribute the weight through the entirety of the foot. Orthotics can prevent areas of increased pressure, by restoring normal foot biomechanics needed for walking or running. This can in turn slow down the progression of bunion formation and its associated symptoms, as well as prevent pain elsewhere in the body.
Take a look at our post on how you can use conservative methods to fix bunions without surgery.
Can Arch Supports Cure Bunions?
Bunions cannot be completely cured by arch supports. However, using arch support insoles can provide a great deal of relief from symptoms that arise from the progression of bunion formation. Once this condition has developed it usually does not go away. These orthotics are specifically designed to help prevent bunions from worsening and managing the symptoms. Orthotics for bunions work to prevent the continual misalignment of the big toe towards the smaller toes, as well as limiting the amount of friction between the bony bump of your foot and your shoe.
It is often reported that many people find relief only when wearing the orthotics and may not provide the same relief when the orthotics are removed. It may take some time to adjust to wearing the new orthotics in your shoes daily. BunionsHow to Correct Your Bunions Without SurgeryA bunion is a bony lump at the base of the big toe. It is a foot abnormality that causes the big toe to bend towards the second toe and away from its normal anatomical position. It can also occur on the small toe, which is known as a tailor's bunion.
Some of the most common causes of bunions are hypermobile joints, arthritis, genetics, structural foot problems, age, and narrow shoes. Though initially painless, bunions can progressively worsen without treatment, leading to conditions like hammertoe, calluses, metatarsalgia, bursitis, and more.
In this article, we will cover effective natural ways to manage symptoms of bunions without surgery and how to prevent their progression.
Is It Possible to Correct a Bunion Without Surgery?
There are many conservative approaches to reduce pain and swelling and prevent bunions from worsening. The choice of technique is determined by the symptom you want to address. However, it's not possible to totally correct a bunion without surgery as it is caused by misalignment of the foot.
Surgery should be considered as a last resort when these methods do not relieve your symptoms or if you want to remove the bunion completely.
Natural Ways to Ease Bunion Pain
Pain is the primary symptom that makes bunions a cause of concern. To relieve pain due to bunions, the following are natural methods that can be employed:
Wear proper shoes
A shoe with a narrow toe box high heels can predispose you to bunions and should be avoided. Instead, go for shoes with enough toe space and thinner heels.
Pad up your foot
Bunion pads come in the form of soft gel-filled pads that can be placed inside your shoe to relieve pressure from your toes. This prevents your foot from rubbing against the inside of your shoe and causing pain.
Exercise your feet
There are very simple exercises for bunions that you can do to relieve the pain associated with the condition and strengthen the muscles controlling the big toe. Examples of exercises that can be performed include a toe curl, a toe stretch, and general ROM exercises for the toes.
Orthotics distribute weight evenly across the foot. Subsequently, there is less pressure in the big toe, increasing comfort, arch support, and foot alignment. They can also help to correct or improve any abnormal walking patterns that may be responsible for the pain.
» Considering getting orthotics? Peruse a range of custom orthotics
Natural Ways to Reduce Bunion Swelling
Swelling is another symptom of bunions that can be addressed with natural means. What’s interesting is that some of the methods mentioned earlier for relieving pain also reduce swelling. Other methods include:
Ice your feet
Icing your feet can help reduce any pain and swelling that you may have because of bunions. Using a towel, apply an ice pack to the area and ice it for 15-20 mins for maximum effect.
Elevate your feet
A simple way to shrink bunions is to elevate the feet. Consider changing the resting position of your feet, such as by propping your feet up using pillows for 2-5 minutes at a time to increase blood circulation and reduce swelling.
Maintain a healthy foot care routine
A foot care routine such as soaking your feet in a foot bath with either Epsom or Pink Himalayan Sea salt will both relax and relieve any swelling and pain in the foot.
A simple massage of the foot can be very effective in reducing swelling and producing bunion pain relief.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight places more pressure on the foot during standing and walking. This, in turn, places the toes under more pressure, predisposing the foot to more inflammation and swelling. Maintaining a healthy weight will help you reduce the swelling and also prevent more pain.
Can You Prevent Bunions?
To a large extent, bunions are preventable. Often, they occur due to prolonged pressure on the metatarsal joints of the big toe. Anything that causes pressure on the MTP can lead to bunions. For example, a low arch due to an inherited or acquired foot problem or a shoe with a narrow toe box. Thus, to prevent bunions, avoid anything that places constant pressure on the MTP joint of the big toe.
Bunions are progressive. They can start painless but will worsen if not treated, becoming excruciatingly painful or leading to complications. As such, bunions must be identified early and treated so they do not cause a permanent deformity.
When Should You Get Bunion Surgery?
Truly, not all bunions will require surgery. If conservative methods relieve the symptoms of a bunion, there may be no need for surgery. However, if after conservative treatment for some weeks there is no pain relief, you should consider opting for a surgical procedure. BunionsBunions: Symptoms, Causes, and TreatmentA bunion, otherwise known as hallux valgus, is an abnormality of the foot bone which causes the big toe to bend away from its normal position towards the second toe.
Bunions are more common in adults than in adolescents. They worsen progressively, so you need to look out for their early signs and address them before it leads to permanent deformity and limits activity.
To do this, it is important to understand what a bunion looks like and possible treatments. We will cover all these in the article below.
» Are bunions and corns different? Learn the similarities and differences between corns vs bunions
Symptoms of Bunions
Based on your symptoms, you can classify bunions into early and later stages. The earlier the intervention, the better the prognosis. Early-stage symptoms include;
Inflammation of the big toeTenderness around the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint.
Without proper management, the condition worsens and can cause:
Pain and swelling at the MTPSorenessNumbnessBurning sensationRednessThickening of the skin at the base of the affected toe, corns, calluses, and movement restrictions of the affected toe.
Common Causes of Bunions
There are several ways you can get bunions, such as:
Poor footwear: An ill-fitting shoe with a narrow toe box or high heels is a common cause of bunions.Structural foot problems: Low arches or familial history (genetics) can cause a bunion to form on the big toe.Other foot conditions: Hypermobility, arthritis of the foot (mostly rheumatoid arthritis), and neuromuscular conditions like poliomyelitis can also cause bunions.Activities or jobs that require prolonged standing: Pressure on the feet from prolonged standing at work or during activities can cause bunions to flare up.Age: Research suggests that the prevalence of bunions increases with age.Women: Generally, bunions are more common among women than men.
Natural Treatments for Bunions
If addressed early, you can prevent bunions from worsening. The first line of treatment for bunions is conservative and non-surgical. It involves the following;
Ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Relieve any immediate pain and limit inflammation. Taping: Taping your foot in a normal position reduces pressure on the affected area.Shoe adjustments: Padding your shoes, for example, will allow room to move your toes.Orthotics: Tailor's bunion insoles can also be used to bring comfort and relieve pressure on the foot.
Orthotics for Treating Bunions
Orthotics are especially good in treating bunions. While there are over-the-counter orthotics, custom orthotics are preferable for treating bunions. Custom orthotics, such as the ones provided by Upstep, are custom-built and designed to fit your foot specifications.
When used, they provide comfort and support while improving your balance and alignment, ensuring weight and pressure are distributed appropriately.
» Want to invest in orthotics? Browse Upstep's custom orthotics range to get started
When Is Surgery Required to Treat Bunions?
While conservative treatment is the first line of management for bunions, it is not the last. If you don't begin conservative treatment during the early stages of bunions, the prognosis worsens and may indicate a need for surgery.
Thus, when conservative treatment fails, bunion surgery can result in a permanent solution. The surgical approach could include osteotomy, exostectomy, arthrodesis, and resection arthroplasty, depending on the severity of the condition at that time. Besides reducing your symptoms, bunion surgery will also restore the shape of your foot.
No matter how mild the symptoms in your foot are, do not just assume they will disappear. Instead, visit your doctor or podiatrist. They will examine your foot and diagnose if it is a bunion, including whether it is worsening or improving, and help you choose the right course of treatment.
Bunions Custom Orthotics BunionsBest Tailor's Bunion ExercisesA Tailor’s bunion is a smaller variation of a bunion that occurs in the fifth metatarsal or smallest toe of the foot. This is different from a bunion which usually occurs at the base of the big toe. Over time, the alignment of the small toe starts to change and a bump may occur. In most cases, this bump is not painful and does not pose a threat to your overall health. Only in severe cases will this condition result in pain.
This condition is caused by altered foot mechanics or due to ill-fitting shoes. Other causes of Tailor’s bunions include ligament laxity, arthritis, and walking on the outer edge of the foot, as seen in a foot with a high arch. Conservative management strategies are commonly used to prevent bunions from worsening and manage this condition safely and cost-effectively. Tailor's bunions can make wearing shoes feel uncomfortable and in severe cases, can hinder mobility.
The symptoms of Tailors bunions:
Misalignment of the smallest toe (5th metatarsal).Pain in the area.Redness.Swelling around the base of the small toe. Inability to bear weight.Pain when wearing tight shoes.
Can Exercise Help Tailor's Bunions?
In the majority of cases, exercises can be used to manage Tailor's bunions. The exercises for bunions aim to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot. Strengthening the muscles of the foot can aid in restoring the normal biomechanics of the feet during daily activity or while exercising.
Exercises may not entirely cure your Tailor’s bunions, but may greatly reduce your chances of them getting progressively worse. The intrinsic muscles of the feet will aid the small toe in maintaining its alignment when weight is placed onto the forefoot. Strengthening these can greatly improve lower leg mechanics and can prevent pain from arising in other areas of the body.
Exercises to Treat Tailor’s Bunions
Exercises can be done daily to aid in treating your Tailor’s bunion and prevent it from worsening in the future. The exercises can be done once or twice a day, four to five times a week. Here are some exercises that you can do:
Sitting with the legs outstretched in front of you and your toes facing upward, attempting to spread the toes and hold for 15 seconds, then relax. Repeat several times on each foot. Toe curls
Start sitting with the legs outstretched in front of you. Curl the toes, hold for 1 second and relax. Repeat several times on both feet. This exercise can be done in a sitting position, with your feet placed on a towel. Attempt to pull the towel backward with your toes by curling them backward. Foot stretch
Sitting, cross your leg over the other by placing your foot on the opposite knee. Apply a gentle stretch backward to the forefoot with your hand. You should feel the stretch in the sole of your foot. Hold for 15-20 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times per foot approximately 2-3 times a day.
You can also stretch the calf muscle to stretch the posterior structures of the foot that contribute to conditions such as plantar fasciitis, flat feet, or general biomechanics alignment issues in the foot.
Can Exercise Prevent Tailor's Bunions?
Though fixing bunions without surgery is a conservation correcting method, exercise can help prevent bunions from developing and getting progressively worse. It may, however, may not prevent you from developing them altogether.
Alongside exercise, changing the type of shoes you are wearing may help you relieve the symptoms related to this condition. Shoes that are wider and have sufficient space on the outer side of the foot area will help limit the progression of this condition.
Orthotics for bunions can also be used to redistribute the weight throughout the entirety of the forefoot and away from the outer side of the foot, where the Tailor’s bunion is located.
Ice can be used to reduce swelling and inflammation in the area. Apply for 15-20 minutes, and can be applied several times throughout the day as pain determines.
For more information on the different types of orthotics available, take a look at our custom orthotics.
When to See a Doctor for Tailor's Bunions
It is advised that you seek advice from a medical practitioner if your small toe is causing high levels of pain and discomfort while walking or going about your daily activities. Should the pain be at such a level that you are having trouble walking, medical advice should be sought regarding the management of this.
In severe cases where the bump is progressively getting larger, the doctor may suggest surgical intervention as an option, once conservative management therapies have been exhausted. This, however, may take some time to entirely recover from or may never recover. BunionsCorns vs. Bunions: Similarities and DifferencesThe common thing about corns and bunions is how both the conditions' symptoms are the same, and often thought to be the same thing. However, these two conditions are different, requiring different approaches in conservative and medical management strategies.
Corns are associated with thickening of the skin, often due to repetitive rubbing and pressure placed on the skin on the underside or top of the foot. Bunions are characterized by a noticeable alignment shift of the big toe outwards towards the smaller toes of the foot. Pain is often experienced at the site of the inwardly bent big toe joint, commonly associated with the progression of the condition. Bunions present with a visible bump around the joint, at the base of the big toe. Bunions are caused by genetic inheritance, ligament laxity, flat feet, and abnormal foot structure.
What Are Corns?
Corns are thickened layers of hard skin that arise as a result of the body trying to protect itself from regular friction and rubbing. The skin may become dry or flaky as a result of corn formation in an area. Pain or tenderness is a common symptom when applying pressure directly onto a corn or callus.
The symptoms of corns include:
Thickened, hardened skin under high-pressure areas.Change of skin color in the callused skin.Tenderness under a touch.
What Are Bunions?
A bunion or hallux valgus is a marked inward turn of the big toe towards the other toes, with a bony bump on the inner side of the foot. Pain and inflammation are some early signs of bunions that can occur on the side of the bone bump as the condition gets progressively worse, without effective conservative management strategies. Bunions can be caused by altered mechanics of the foot seen in conditions like flat feet, and can also be caused by tight shoes that crowd the toes while wearing them.
The symptoms of bunions include:
Visible change of direction of the big toes towards the smaller toes.Pain and soreness around the bony bump around the big toe joint.Joint stiffness.Redness or minor swelling around the joint deformity.Difficulty walking.Callus formation, usually around the underside of the big toe.
Take a look at our post on how you can prevent bunions from worsening.
Corns vs. Bunions: What Are the Similarities?
The similarities between the two conditions are the noticeable thickening of the skin around the areas of most friction between the foot and shoe. The skin thickens around the area of the bunion, and the skin thickens around the pressure area in corns. Both conditions usually arise and progress slowly over time and are often linked to tight-fitting shoes with a narrow toe box. Both conditions are made worse by activity and can produce pain in severe cases. These conditions in severe cases can be managed with surgical intervention. Due to these conditions, they may also be a need for arch support insoles. Wearing arch supports has been proven to be beneficial to people with these conditions.
Corns vs. Bunions: What Are the Differences?
The major difference between the two conditions is that bunion development affects the bone structure and alignment in the foot, while the other is associated with thickening of the skin and no alterations to the bone structure of the foot. Corns usually present as the body’s reaction to friction in an area to prevent blister formation and are not known as an inheritable trait. Bunions can be inherited as a genetic trait, however, and can be caused by factors such as ligament laxity and flat feet, amongst others. The treatment for the two conditions varies between the conditions, as seen below.
Treatment for Corns and Bunions
Treatment for corns or calluses involves removing the hard skin by a trained medical professional or podiatrist. Any underlying reasons for corn development can also be ruled out by the doctor during this process. You can enquire with the doctor about how to prevent further corn formation.
Treatment for bunions makes use of orthotic devices or inserts (such as bunion pads) to correct and support the foot through weight-bearing activities, preventing the progression of the condition. Orthotics for bunions aim to redistribute the weight through the entirety of the foot, reducing the weight translated through the forefoot while walking or running. Though it is not completely possible to fix bunions without surgery, there are conservative approaches that help reduce pain and swelling. Toe separators can also be used to maintain the alignment of the big toe during these activities, and are a cost-effective way to manage bunions safely.
For both conditions, if a reduction in daily mobility is seen due to pain or stiffness in the foot, it is advised you seek medical advice regarding this. In severe cases of both conditions, the doctor might suggest a surgical intervention to manage these conditions. BunionsHow to Prevent Bunions from Developing and Getting WorseBunions, often confused with bone spurs, occur commonly among the older population and are characterized by an outward movement of the big toe, leading to the development of a bony bump at its base. The ligaments become lax due to pressure placed on the joint over time, eventually causing the big toe to turn outwards toward the other toes. In most non-severe cases, this condition does not have symptoms of pain. It may have mild symptoms of pain in severe cases.
Bunions can also appear as a bony lump on the outer part of the pinky toe, which is also known as a tailor's bunion.
Causes of Bunions
There are several causative factors in the development of a bunion. Ill-fitting shoes and rheumatoid arthritis are the most common causes of bunions. The risk of developing bunions increases depending on footwear choices, connective tissue disorders, age, sex, and genetics. Flat feet and rheumatoid arthritis can significantly increase your risk of developing a bunion. Shoes with a small toe box may cause the toes to be guided into unnatural positions or squeeze them together. This can lead to ligament laxity and potential deformity over time.
Symptoms of bunions include:
Visible bump around joint of the big toe Outward movement of the big toe towards the second toeCallus around the bump caused by increased pressure on the tissue Stiffness or reduced range of motion in the big toe Pain and tenderness in the jointLimited ability to walk
How to Prevent Bunions
Make sure you effectively manage other conditions that could lead to the development of bunions. You can prevent the development of bunions by limiting the amount of pronation in the foot and stress applied to the big toe. This can be done by distributing the weight onto the entire foot and lessening the amount placed onto the big toe by using orthotics. Managing conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and other foot deformity-associated conditions will prevent the development of bunions in the future.
Toe exercises for bunions can be done daily to slow down the development of bunions alongside other exercises. These can be done when you notice the early signs of bunions.
Start by sitting with your feet out in front of you in a comfortable position. Attempt to fan your toes apart. Hold for 5 seconds and release. Repeat 10 times per foot.
Start by sitting with marbles, or any other small round objects, placed on the floor in front of you. Pick up the marbles with your toes and put them in a cup. The squeeze needed to collect the marble and pick it up will strengthen the intrinsic muscles of your foot. Place 10 marbles into the cup and repeat on your other foot.
You can start by sitting with your feet placed on a towel with your toes facing forward. Attempt to push your toes forward toward your heel, squeezing the muscles of the sole of your foot. Hold for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat 10–12 times. This will strengthen your foot muscles, aiding in mobility and injury prevention.
How to Stop Existing Bunions From Getting Worse
Shoe inserts for bunions and other orthotics specifically designed to prevent bunions will effectively slow the bunion's rate of progression. These orthotics aim to maintain the alignment of the big toe and prevent the bunion from getting worse. Bunion correctors like bunion pads help distribute weight through the entire forefoot. Toe separators may also be a great way to maintain the gap between the first and second toes when wearing a tight-fitting shoe.
Choosing the correct footwear when you have bunions is extremely helpful in not aggravating the condition further on a day-to-day basis. Choosing shoes with a wide toe box, soft sole, and adequate stability should not aggravate your symptoms. Avoid shoes that are tight, narrow, or have high heels, as this could aggravate your symptoms further.
Is It Possible to Get Rid of Bunions?
It’s difficult to completely fix bunions without surgery as this condition progresses naturally as the ligaments get further lax with use and age. Reducing the amount of pressure placed on the joint will slow down the progression of the deformity. Orthotics for bunions and bunion pads are a cost-effective and safe way to reduce the pressure on the affected joint. Using arch supports in combination with other conservative treatments is also a good option for treating bunions. Exercises can be done in conjunction with the orthotics to aid in restoring and maintaining alignment of the joint while walking or running.
Wearing shoes that provide enough toe space and do not compress the big toe will also slow the progression of a bunion, as mentioned above. Medication can be prescribed by a medical professional to relieve any pain and inflammation that you may be experiencing.
In severe cases of bunions where conservative options have failed, a medical professional would suggest surgery to correct the deformity and alleviate pain or discomfort. A host of different surgeries can be performed as a last resort.
If you are experiencing increased pain in your feet, consult with a medical professional to determine the cause. BunionsDo Bunion Correctors Really Work?There are several ways to fix bunions without surgery. The use of bunion correctors has been proven to be effective, particularly in the beginning stages of bunions. Bunion correctors help straighten your big toe, keeping it in proper alignment.
While they don’t cure bunions, bunion correctors can reduce pressure on the joints and provide pain relief. However, it should be noted that their effectiveness depends on the severity of the bunion and the type of pain you are experiencing.
How Do Bunion Correctors Work?
Repeatedly squeezing the feet into narrowly pointed footwear will place them under continuous stress. The body compensates for this by producing more bone in that area. Unlike with bone spurs, a bony bump forms at the base of the big toe over time and turns it outwards, causing more stress on the inner side of your foot. In the case of a tailor's bunion, the bump forms at the base of the small toe. This leads to the formation of bunions.
Bunion correctors help correct the malalignment, restoring the big toe to its original position. Generally, they work to keep the toes straight by supporting the toes from the side. Over time, they force the toe back to its natural anatomic position so that the big toe can be kept straight even in the absence of the correctors.
Types of Bunion Correctors
There are slight variations in the design of bunion correctors. The design influences how and when to wear bunion correctors. Here are four types of bunion correctors.
1. Toe Spacer
These are usually made of silicone or gel and can be worn with shoes. Begin by placing them in between your big and second toes. The toe spacer pushes against the big toe until it gets to its natural position. This brings pain relief and reduces the risk of blister formation on the second toe, which usually suffers from pressure caused by the big toe.
2. Bunion Splints
Bunion splints are usually wrapped around the foot at night while you sleep to align the toes. While they do not eliminate the bunion, they help relieve any pain symptoms and limit the progression of the deformity. Over time, they can also realign the big toe back to its normal position.
3. Arch Supports
Arch supports are relevant because a clear link has been established between flat feet and bunions. By providing structural support to the arch of the foot, arch supports help keep the foot neutrally aligned and thus limit the progression of a bunion. Arch supports exist in two forms: over-the-counter support and custom orthotics. The latter is guaranteed to bring better results.
4. Bunion Pads or Sleeves
The continuous pressure of the bunion against shoes can cause pain and swelling. Bunion pads or sleeves offer protection from pressure and friction and help relieve symptoms. They are made of gel or moleskin and can easily be slipped over the big toe and the ball of the foot.
How Effective Are Bunion Correctors?
There is evidence to suggest that bunion correctors can provide temporary pain relief and also prevent the progression of bunions. However, the effects are likely small effects that compound over time instead of a once-off, long-term result.
Aside from this, there is little evidence to suggest that bunion correctors are effective in completely getting rid of bunions.
Alternatives to Bunion Correctors
Bunion correctors are not the only way to treat symptoms caused by bunions. There are other conservative methods. Surgery is also effective in treating bunions when they cause severe pain or non–conservative methods have not yielded results.
These treatment options are discussed below.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
During acute episodes, NSAIDs help limit inflammation and provide pain relief.Physiotherapy
A physiotherapist will prescribe toe exercises for bunions to relieve symptoms, limit deformity progression, and improve gait efficiency.Proper footwear
Shoes with low heels and wide toe spaces are necessary to reduce pressure on the big toe. Padding or taping
You can also tape or pad around the bunion to cushion and reduce pressure on the bunion. Custom orthotics
Orthotic devices for bunions can be used to keep the foot aligned and prevent the formation of any deformity. They can also cushion the foot to relieve any excess pressure on the big toes.Surgery
There are many kinds of surgery that can be used to remove bunions. These surgeries involve tendon, ligament, and joint repositioning to change the position of the big toe. Osteotomy and fusion surgery are two important surgical methods that can be used. BunionsBunions vs. Bone Spurs: Differences & SimilaritiesBunions and symptoms associated with this condition are reported by 1 out of every 3 Americans. A bunion is a bony bump developing at the base of the big toe, which can be seen on the inner side of the foot. Inflammation of the fluid-filled sac around the toe joint leads to pain, and in some cases, redness can be seen around the area. In most cases, bunions are not dangerous to your overall health but can progress into severe pain and deformity if left unmanaged.
A smaller bunion is also known as a tailor's bunion and can develop in the joint of your little toe. Early signs of bunions consist of the typical bony bump forming at the joint of the big toe accompanied by stiffness, swelling, and pain in the area. Calluses may also form on the inner edge of the bunion.
What Is a Bone Spur?
A spur is an outgrowth that usually develops at the edge of a bone due to repeated stress applied to the structure. Bone spurs can occur across all joints in the body, including the big toe and calcaneus bone. Heel spurs are one of the most common forms of bone spurs and should not be confused with plantar fasciitis.
Bone spurs can be caused by degenerative joint conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A bone spur of a large enough size will compress the tissue around the affected joint, causing pain and inflammation. It usually develops without you knowing about it, eventually growing to a size where it protrudes into the tissue around the spur.
Pain accompanying a bone spur has been described as a dull ache in the area around the bone spur and a sharp pain when placing weight onto the foot in the morning. People with bone spurs have also reported stiffness and numbness.
Comparing Bunions and Bone Spurs
The main similarity between bone spurs and bunions is the development of a bony lump in a particular area of the foot. With bunions, this bony lump is visible at the base of the big toe, while bone spurs develop internally and apply pressure to soft tissue structures within the foot. These conditions are not severe and usually don’t cause symptoms in most people.
From the early stages of bunion development, you will be able to see the joint of the big toe becoming slightly enlarged and inflamed. You will also notice the slow development of the bunion as the big toe becomes angled towards the smaller toes.
Bone spurs usually grow larger without you being aware that the bone spur is developing. The bone spur will eventually reach a size where it will protrude into the tissue, aggravating the tissue with repeated walking or running. Bone spurs can occur in any joint in the body, including on the underside of the heel bone or calcaneus.
Treatments for Bunions and Bone Spurs
For both conditions, you can apply ice to painful areas to relieve symptoms of inflammation and pain. Rest will further allow inflammation in the area to subside without aggravating the joint or tissue around the spur again. For both conditions, weight loss will reduce the amount of force placed on the inflamed tissue and can help you relieve pain.
Medication can provide relief from pain and inflammation that arise from the progression of both disorders. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help relieve these symptoms.
In combination with exercises for bunions, you can use orthotics for bunions to effectively manage the progression of bunion formation and even correct bunions without surgery. Bunion pads and custom footwear will be beneficial in alleviating the pressure placed on the forefoot and toe. Ensure that you are wearing footwear that is wide enough to allow space for the toes and forefoot. Shoes with a small toe box and a hard sole may aggravate symptoms associated with bunions.
Treating Bone Spurs
Treatment for bone spurs includes a combination of exercise, orthotics, and medication to manage pain and inflammation. The soft tissue around the bone spur is prone to inflammation, so symptoms can be reduced by limiting the pressure put onto the tissue around the spur.
You can experience a drastic reduction in symptoms with the correct custom orthotics that adequately relieve pressure around the area of tissue surrounding the inflamed structure. Orthotics are a cost-effective way to manage this and are interchangeable between shoes.
In severe cases of bone spurs, an arrangement of conservative treatment options may not be able to provide enough pain relief to carry out your daily activities in a pain-free manner. In cases where all conservative treatments have failed, a medical professional may suggest surgery to remove the bone spur entirely. It may take some time for you to fully recover after that, with the doctor usually recommending a period off your feet and time in a supportive walking boot.
With bigger bone spurs, the doctor may recommend using crutches and a longer period in a boot, perhaps as much as 2–4 weeks. You can usually return to exercise and sport three months after the surgery, but this will depend on your surgeon.
For both conditions, if you are experiencing any symptoms that are disabling or reducing your ability to walk, it is advised that you seek advice from a medical professional.