Are Bunion Splints Useful ?
Bunion splints are sold by drug stores, medical companies, and are easily accessible online. They are generally worn at night for the purpose of stretching out the soft tissues and attempting to move the bunion joint back into position. Does it work ? You’ll have to try it and see. If your bunion is early in its progression, yes, the soft tissues may be pliable. However, the large forces acting on the joint to cause the bunion to progress occur while weight bearing. So the question remains, will a night splint make any difference if the progression of the deformity isn’t happening at night. I think it can be worth a try.
Which bunion splints to get ?
Again, trial and error. However one warning. I would stay away from any splint that attempts to straighten out the big toe by putting a piece of material in the space between the big toe and second toe (without any stabilizing force coming from the foot). It is easy to push a pad between the toes, but take a look and see if in fact what you’re doing is pushing the 2nd toe toward the outside instead of pushing the big toe back towards the inside (midline of the body). If this is the case, you may end up with a laterally deviated (deformed) second toe as well as the bunion. As the bunion progresses, it tends to abutt and override or under-ride the 2nd toe anyway, so you will want to avoid doing any damage to this toe before the bunion moves over to hit that 2nd toe.
Can bunion splints cause problems ?
Other than the above mentioned problem, yes. You may get soreness and inflammation in the tissues and/or the joint when you forcibly try to reposition the big toe joint. If your foot starts hurting or swelling after you’ve given the night splint a week or two to do its thing, you should probably stop wearing it.
Should you try a bunion splint ?
If you can push your big toe back over to where it should be using your finger rather easily without having to push hard, and if your joint doesn’t already have a decent sized bump on it, why not ? They’re not expensive. Some have a money back guarantee. There are reputable stores local to the Vancouver area. The largest selection I can find is at www.homehealthcareshoppe.com with retail store located in Port Coquitlam.
You should definitely consult with a podiatrist before you do anything, even as apparently subtle as wearing a night splint. The body is delicate and it has a natural rhythm and progression over time. Sometimes our best intentions cause more harm than good.
Please do not use this information to replace a professional opinion.