Do bunion correctors help bunions on the feet?
Posted: Aug 29, 2020
Bunions are a very common problem of the feet, especially in females. They are an enlargement of the bone at the big toe joint and are commonly associated with a deviation of the big toe towards the other toes, known as hallux valgus. They do not look very good and can become painful. Once a bunion starts, it is almost always progressive, but that progression can be fast or slow and does vary quite substantially. The cause of bunions are multi factorial. There is a hereditary component to them and tight fitting footwear is probably a major issue. Foot structure and biomechanics also plays a role. They are more common in females and this is assumed to be because they tend to wear more fashionable tighter fitting footwear.
Bunions can become painful because of pressure on the enlarged joint from the shoes or from an arthritis type of pain inside the joint. The best way to deal with bunions is to make sure that you have correctly fitted footwear. The only way to actually get rid of a bunion and make it go away is with surgery. That does not mean that the pain from them can not be controlled in other ways. This might involve the use of pads to get pressure off the enlarged joint or it might involve injections into the joint for pain from inside the joint. Many people want to know if anything can be done to correct the bunion without surgery.
Bunion correctors are braces that you wear on the foot at night to hold the big toe in a corrected position to try and correct the bunion. They are widely advertised and available online with before and after photos (that are most likely fake) to try and convince people that they will cure their bunions. Holding the toe in a corrected position with a bunion corrector overnight certainly does seem like a good idea and certainly seems that it might well work. However, on the other hand consider this: a certain amount of force is generated by the bunion corrector on the toe overnight to try and correct its position. The next day, a probably much greater force is put on the toe by the gait and the footwear that any gain from the bunion corrector is probably undone. So, in theory they may or may not work at correcting bunions. There has been one study done that shows that they do actually work a small amount. However, they only showed a couple of degrees improvement after a couple of months use. They did not study the brace for longer than that to see if there is more improvement or if the improvement remains after stopping its use.
All this does not mean that bunion correctors should not be used. A number of clinicians have commented that using them does keep the toe mobile and flexible and this does help manage the pain that often occurs inside the joint. This means that they can be useful, even if they do not correct the bunion.
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.