September 28, 2019 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Bunion-wise, I'm in the delightful stage between not anywhere near bad enough for surgery and never isn't a problem. I'm looking for ways to 1) stop it getting worse (KTape? Spacer thingies? What?) and 2) stop it hurting all the time (Voltaren? Magical shoes? I don't even know. NSAIDs don't seem to touch it.)
posted by HotToddy to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
For me keeping fairly pain free is all about flat, supportive shoes that are wide enough
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:03 AM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you seen a podiatrist? I’m also in that delightful in-between stage, and my podiatrist noted a few important structural issues with my foot that are contributing to the bunion. Learning about these helped me create preventative practices and take measures to ward off worsening for as long as possible.

Your structural issues are likely different from mine, but here’s what my podiatrist found (so you can get a sense of what a podiatrist might be able to advise on for you):

- Second toe on my bunioned foot is notably longer than my big toe, causing me to push off the ground with it when, in a healthy foot, people concentrate the force on their big toe.
- Calf on my bunioned side is notably underdeveloped because I don’t use my big toe as much as on the other side (so now I do daily calf exercises).
- I’m hypermobile, so despite having very high arches it looks like I’m flat-footed when I walk (because my foot collapses on itself). This throws off the structure of my foot, so my podiatrist created custom-made orthotics that make walking feel sooo much better.

Another thing you could try is to working on foot-strengthening exercises like those touted by The Foot Collective. This group was recommended to me by a physical therapist I was seeing for other issues. While I’m not fully on board with their barefoot shoes thing, I do think it’s a great idea to walk barefoot on varied surfaces and train your feet on a balance beam. I have a small balance beam in my home now that I practice on every day to strengthen my feet.
posted by saltypup at 11:28 AM on September 28, 2019 [8 favorites]

Daily, I wear flat shoes with a wide toe-box and silicone toe-spacer thingies. I also stretch my large toe outwards manually (about once a week or when I think about it). I have noticed a significant decrease in foot pain as a result.
posted by Sauter Vaguely at 11:29 AM on September 28, 2019

Thirty years ago, I was just about ready to schedule bunion surgery. Now, bunions are are no more than a dim and distant memory. Two things made this happen. First, I got custom orthotics from a foot doctor, which helped quite a lot. Finally, I discarded what was left of my dignity and just started wearing Birkenstocks, always. Forever. No more bunions. It simplifies shoe shopping, and my feet are happy, happy, happy.

Birkenstocks are the magic shoes your feet want.
posted by Corvid at 12:29 PM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

These inserts and stick on pads.
posted by fshgrl at 1:02 PM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

These braces for sleep or relaxation (you can’t really walk in them).
posted by nouvelle-personne at 1:42 PM on September 28, 2019 [2 favorites]

N-thing custom orthotics. I started having bunion pain about 10 years ago (at not even 30 years old, the HUMANITY) and orthotics worked like magic. Now, I only get pain if I wear shoes that don't allow orthotics (e.g. heels, dainty flats) for long periods of time.

If you DO have to occasionally wear dressy shoes, the name of the game is arch support, at least for me. I can no longer wear shoes from Target or Payless or whatever; I need Clarks quality or similar.

If you're wondering what to do in the summer, I CANNOT RECOMMEND CHACO SANDALS ENOUGH. I honestly think Chacos are better than my orthotics! I have the least amount of bunion pain in the summer. I've walked up to 15 miles a day in Chacos without getting a single twinge in my bunion.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 11:40 AM on September 30, 2019

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