There are a handful of products out there that you can pick up at the drug store to take the edge off and a few splints out there that might actually prevent it from getting worse. If all that fails, are you destined for bunion removal surgery? Before we answer that question, let’s go through our options carefully. Let’s start with the obvious solutions.
1. You can pick up a pack of 6 moleskin pads for under $6.00 at your local drug store.
Not a bad solution if you are in a pinch. Your attending your cousin’s wedding and if she really knew how thankful you were that you got to sit during the ceremony while she stood up at the alter, after walking 6 long blocks to the church, she’d roll her eyes at you. But the truth is, you were ill prepared and forgot your were the proud owner of said bunions when you bought the 3 inch heels (or for you men out there; when you pulled the dusty and stiff-as-a-board dress shoes off the shelf) so a fast run (well, not really a run) through Walgreens on the way to the ceremony is your only chance at making it through the reception, even with an open bar. As it stands now, you’re only 1 hour into the night and they are already fire engine red and screaming.
The mole skin is soft and the adhesive is probably as good as you’ll get without super glue. But truth be said, your shoes are already tight so anything else invited to the party just makes for a just a different kind of pain. Now your little pigs are angry and even if you were able to dance up until the clock struck midnight, there’s a really good chance you would be digging in your purse for the other 5 in the pack since the adhesive can’t fight off the sweat and spilled booze on the dance floor. No wonder celebrities sedate their feet with a local anesthetic before awards shoes and premiers…(If I knew myself where to go to numb my nubs, I would have it on this list. If anyone reading this has suggestions, please comment!)
2. Gel Spacers, 2 for $5.00 at the drugstore.
If your shoes allow for it, great! Slip them in between the pigs and away you go! They gently separate the big and second toe and aren’t that uncomfortable in shoes with a wide toe box. But again, usually it’s already a tight situation in there and the toe spacers do nothing for the red, and not to mention, oddly warm bunion, on the other side of the big toe. This might be more of a proactive solution in my mind. After looking at your mom’s big toe jetting out over the others, and what appears to be your own left-hook, you try to combat the situation early. May the force be with you.
3. There’s a new one on the market, bunion gel cushions for around $7.00.
Nobel idea, reduce friction and comfort with vitamin E. The picture on the package looks enticing. It appears to be so thin you can see through it and the fit on the foot model looks to be just right. Upon removing it from the package however, it resembles the thick, pliable, opaque skin of a blister but 10 times the thickness. It hangs over the big toe like a necktie, but then just drops. Doesn’t do much for stable positioning and in all honesty, it’s bulky and tacky (I do mean to the touch but now that I’m looking at it, it’s very much tacky in the fashion sense also). It doesn’t slip into shoes well and once it does, if it catches or decides it’s found it’s home, I hope it’s wear you want it or you’ll be fighting it all day/night. And the vitamin E in there? I don’t feel it. I think they might have slipped that in to make it slightly less tacky and rubbery but not quite sure. It doesn’t feel as good as it sounds.
4. Flex Tastic toe spacers, $11.00 drug stores.
Oh these are one of my personal favorites. Being on the receiving end of many a pedicures in my life, I still have not gotten used to, or like for that matter, the toe spacers they place in between my toes to allow the polish to dry. These spacers lasted all but 30 seconds on my foot and then were promptly returned to the store for a full refund. Due to my limited wear time I can’t provide an unbiased opinion but I can tell you that besides the unruly fit, there’s no way I could wear these and walk. I can hardly stand with them on, and the package says don’t wear them in shoes. To me that leaves the average bunion sufferer with sleeping and watching TV for wear time, and that’s assuming they could keep them on more than the 30 seconds I had them on. I wish you luck.
5. Next up, rigid bunion splint. Bunion-Aid makes these and they can go for as much as $75.00 online, depending on the retailer.
I first saw these in my Women’s Health magazine and until that day, I had been reluctant to find anything that really addressed the correction of bunions (without surgery), or the cencept of preventing them from getting worse. I’m not afraid to purchase online, but typically anything over $30 requires adequate product review, certainly $49.95 isn’t a price point I take lightly. However, since I felt this product spoke to me, I purchased it a record-breaking 15 minutes after seeing the ad. 4 Weeks later I received the splint and I could barely wait to get it on! If this worked for me I would send one to my grandma and mom, who’ve both been suffering with bunions for year and spent 12 hours a day on their feet working in the hospital. Challenging to get on unless you are an origami expert, I finally got it on. Well…..I can see right away that I will not be walking the mall in this thing, even if I could get shoes or flip flops on. It’s huge, it’s bulky and looks like something the hospital would fit you for if you broke your big toe. Ok, but it must work right? A device like this (and one that cost $50!) must work to straighten the big toe alignment so I will resolve to live with the strange fit and sleep with it. So the first night I carefully laced it up and pulled it taught. I’m an easy sleeper, 5 minutes and I’m out, sounds asleep until my alarm goes off. Tonight started off no different. However by 11pm I awoke and my toe was killing me! I had to take it off, even after I had I felt a small child had been hanging white knuckled from my toe. I’m not giving up. Night 2, same drill but this time lacing it substantially looser. Chalking up the previous night to user-error. Nope, not a chance. Same thing, it’s off by midnight. I’m sad to say I never found the sweet spot after weeks of trying. I even tried to wear it during the day (with socks on to keep it clean) and even that was ineffective. It wasn’t conducive to walking and I don’t sit still much. This wasn’t for me.
6. Bunion Bootie, $39.95 online at www.BunionBootie.com.
The search continues…..Bunion Bootie is a soft, flexible (good so far) bunion corrector (like the sounds of that) that can be worn in shoes and barefoot (hat trick!). It’s beige so not as hard to keep “clean”. It can be hand-washed and GENTLY pulls the big toe back to its anatomically correct position. What’s the catch? I can tell you I haven’t found it. There are some points worth making though, it doesn’t offer much in the padding department but that’s by design. It’s thin (only 0.4mm) so it can be worn (truly) in any shoe and even provides some protection against rubbing. While it’s probably counter productive to wear in your tight 3 inch heels, it can easily be worn in running shoes, work shoes with wide toe boxes, flip flops and even Five Finger shoes! It’s very durable and comes in 3 sizes for the custom fit your feet deserve. You can chose a fit true to size for a comfortable all-around wear, or you can select a size smaller for more aggressive alignment action. Word of advice, you don’t want to wear the tighter fit after a 12 hour shift, feet swell during the day and even more so after 12 hours. Be kind and consider the days activities and personal wear preference. It took years to get to this point so nothing will be changed overnight. And if you’ve been through the bunion surgery just to have the nasty nubs return, consider the Bunion Bootie, it could prevent a round 3 at the surgeon since it can help maintain the position your doctor (and the pins) put you in.
If you have tried solutions not listed here, we would love to hear!!