The 10 Best Bunion Treatments

Updated October 30, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Bunion Treatments
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Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. We know that bony bump at the base of your big toe can be quite painful, so take a look at our selection of splints and bunion treatments. They will, at the very least, provide you with some much needed relief, and could even help you avoid an expensive surgery down the line. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best bunion treatment on Amazon.

10. Foots Love Toe Straightener

The Foots Love Toe Straightener is made of a soft, flexible, hypoallergenic neoprene that helps ease pain and bring faster healing to a variety of ailments, including overlapping and misaligned digits. Its use may even reduce strain on ankles and hips over time.
  • wide velcro fasteners
  • helpful video and instructions
  • may not fit well on smaller toes
Brand Foots Love
Model pending
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Dr. Rogo Splint

The Dr. Rogo Splint provides joint pain relief and a gentle, comfortable correction of your big toe's alignment, making it a viable alternative to surgery if you're willing to wear the unit regularly. The set includes one for each of your feet.
  • adjustable for the perfect fit
  • can be worn day or night
  • too big to fit inside most shoes
Brand Dr Rogo
Model No Model
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Alpha Orthotics Hinged Splint

Engineered and made in Germany, the Alpha Orthotics Hinged Splint is a three-in-one option that reduces pain, protects, and corrects all at once. Its flexible construction allows for a full range of motion and it is comfortable enough to walk on or sleep in.
  • adjustable to fit on either foot
  • award-winning design
  • not sufficiently supportive
Brand Alpha Orthotics
Model 106001
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Dr. Pedi T05-4

The Dr. Pedi T05-4 is a pair of corrector-separators, one for the right foot and one for the left. They have a nonslip, easy-to-use design that is suitable for even the most sensitive skin. With a sock and shoe on, you can barely detect them.
  • simple to wash and reuse
  • comfortably loop over big toes
  • stick to fabric and attract dirt
Brand Dr.Pedi
Model T05-4
Weight 1.6 ounces
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. Lifelux Pain Relief Value Pack

The versatile Lifelux Pain Relief Value Pack provides all-day comfort whether you're walking, running, or working out with four different pairs of spreaders, straighteners, pads, and sleeves that mold to your skin for insulation against shock and pressure.
  • nighttime splint stretches tendons
  • aids hallux valgus deformities
  • fabric is thick and scratchy
Brand LifeLux
Model pending
Weight 4.8 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. Dr. Frederick's Original Splints

Dr. Frederick's Original Splints offer superlative relief and fit for everyday and even nighttime use, with an easily adjustable toe stabilizer bar and ergonomic wrap design that's so comfortable it won't impede your sleep.
  • soft breathable fabric
  • machine washable for easy cleaning
  • velcro wears out over time
Brand Dr. Frederick's Origina
Model pending
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. ViveSole Pads

Give your toes some quick relief from pain using the premium ViveSole Pads, which are designed to serve as both guards and separators, and fit comfortably into most shoes. This pleasantly low-priced option comes with left and right-side molds.
  • soothe instantly
  • reduce pressure and friction
  • sleek and discreet form factor
Brand VIVE
Model pending
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Dr. JK Bunion Relief and Cushion Kit

Avoid surgery using the Dr. JK Bunion Relief and Cushion Kit, which includes five different pairs of medical grade pads and separators that protect and assuage pain while straightening crooked phalanges. The range of tools helps ensure every foot gets relief.
  • impressive value for its price
  • free ebook on treatment included
  • easy to clean with soap and water
Brand DR JK
Model pending
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Ozeen Toe Sleeves

Ozeen Toe Sleeves come in a pack of four and are made of a flexible silicone material. They offer a soothing, practical solution to the pain caused by hallux deformities, crossed toes, and more by helping to stimulate blood flow and reduce stiffness.
  • allow moisture to reach the skin
  • great for callused feet
  • come with a money-back guarantee
Model pending
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Prag Movement Corrector

Invented by Joseph Pilates, founder of the eponymous fitness system, the Prag Movement Corrector helps cure maladies caused by weak hip extensors by strengthening the alignment of everything, from the big toe through the rest of the foot and up to the pelvis.
  • helps prevent recurrences
  • encourages proper posture
  • strengthens muscles as it heals
Brand by Prag Movement
Model TC grey
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

What Exactly Are Bunions?

Bunions are bony bumps that form at the base joint of the hallux, commonly referred to as the big toe. It is a deformity of the joint which connects the big toe to the foot. They are usually formed when the big toe pushes in against the toe next to it. This causes the joint to push out abnormally and causes a lateral deviation of the big toe. The deformity is called a hallux valgus and will have a noticeable sideways angle.

Many people incorrectly refer to a bunion as an enlargement of the bone due to the large bump which develops. The bump is actually created by two things, neither of which is an enlargement of the bone. Part of the bump is due to the bursa sac becoming swollen. The bursa sac is a small, viscous fluid-filled sac that provides cushioning between bones, tendons, and muscles. When inflamed it becomes swollen just like any other part of the body. The rest, and larger part, of the bump is the head of the first metatarsal bone sticking out because of the sideways angle. This bone does not grow or become larger, it is just no longer perfectly aligned with the foot, which is why it juts out.

It is not uncommon to also develop smaller bunions, known as bunionettes, on the little toes as they are pushed out of place by the big toe. Bunions often develop a thickening of the skin over the bump which may become swollen, inflamed and painful. Studies have shown that bunions may be up to 10 times more common in women than men.

Symptoms of a bunion include a bulging bump at the outside base of the big toe, pain and soreness localized around the joint of the big toe, thickening skin around the bump, and calluses where the big toe and second toe overlap when walking. This symptoms may or may not be accompanied with restricted movement of the big toe and a deformity of the second toe.

The majority of bunions can be treated at home with no medical intervention, but there are times when a orthopedic foot specialist should be consulted. If one is experiencing persistent pain that is making walking difficult, limited movement of the big toe, or difficulty finding shoes that fit because of the width of your foot after the formation of a bunion, medical intervention might be necessary.

Common Causes Of Bunions

Bunions develop because the pressure of a person's body weight falls unevenly on the joints of the foot. This uneven pressure can make the big toe joint unstable, and over time cause it to jut out at an unusual angle.

There is much debate in the medical community over the underlying cause of bunions. Some professionals feel that it can be caused by wearing certain types of footwear. Among those who believe that bunions are caused by footwear, there is debate about the types of footwear which are responsible. Some feel that they are caused by high-heeled shoes, while other feel that too narrow shoes are to blame, and a third group believes that any kind of shoe that is too tight may be the root cause.

The experts that believe the problem is genetic in pathophysiology do admit that certain types of shoes can exacerbate the problem, though would not cause them on their own without some underlying genetic predisposition. Some genetic conditions that are believed to be root causes of bunions include unusual positioning of certain supportive structures of the first metatarsal, overly flexible ligaments, abnormal bone structure, flat feet, and just a general weakness of the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are also sometimes connected to the development of bunions.

How Bunions Are Treated

Depending on the severity of the bunion, it may be treated with surgery, homeopathic remedies, orthotics, or simply changing footwear. The majority of conservative bunion treatments treat the symptoms, but don't correct the underlying deformity, which means it can flare up and cause problems at any time later in life. So, while changing footwear is a good way to relieve the pain associated with a bunion, it won't help fix the actual problem and you may find yourself in pain when wearing high heels or dress shoes.

For those who prefer non-surgical approaches, orthotic splints can be a good solution. They are non-invasive, can be used in the comfort of one's own home, and show a high success rate for bunions. For those with a very moderate bunion problem, gelled toe spacers and bunion cushions may be all that is needed. For those with more severe bunions, a toe splint, bunion regulator, or toe corrector will most likely be needed. Some are designed to be used barefoot, while others are small enough to fit into a shoe for all day wear. Bunion orthotics can be medically prescribed or purchased over-the-counter depending on the model and the style.

There are a variety of bunion surgeries, each designed to correct a specific pathology. A surgery may be performed to shave off the protruding bony enlargement of the first metatarsal, re-position the sesamoid bones, realign the first and adjacent metatarsal bone, realign cartilagenous surfaces, and more. Your heath care provider can provide more information on the best surgical approach if one is required.

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Last updated on October 30, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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