When it comes to bunion pain, surgery is usually the only option people know about. In fact, many people suffer for years because they don't want to undergo surgery to correct this problem. Some people even think this is normal for "getting old" and don't even consider looking for treatment options. The truth is, surgery may be required, but often some of these simple techniques can help reduce your pain and keep you active without surgery.
- Changing Your Shoes: The most common complaint from bunions are the discomfort or even pain with shoes. By wearing a wider shoe (shoes that have more room for the toes), the pain can be eliminated or at least reduced. This doesn't fix the problem, but reduces the limitations from pain.
- Orthotics: A specially designed appliance or insole for the shoe can be custom made to your foot. This custom device will modify the way you walk and place the foot in neutral position reducing the pressure that causes the bunion to progress. Again, this option doesn't fix the problem, but can often slow or stop the progression of a bunion and postpone surgery indefinitely.
- Bunion Splints: On a regular basis, patients come into our office looking for ways to splint their bunion and possibly eliminate the associated pain. A splint is a great option, but is sometimes poorly tolerated by some individuals. The reduction of the retrograde force by splinting the bunion can slow progression and possibly eliminate the pain associated with the deformity. Usually the splint will need to be worn forever, as it usually doesn't fix the problem.
- Toe Spacers or Padding: Other items that may reduce the associated discomfort include padding the bunion prominence or placing a spacer between the 1st and 2nd toes. These options can reduce the force in the area and the associated pain. Again, these don't fix the problem, but reduce the pain and at least postpone the future surgery.