Posted on May 18 2019
Bunions or Hallux Valgus is a very common foot issue, it happens to a lot of women particularly due to the wrong footwear. By ‘wrong footwear’, I mean sharp pointed shoes, shoes that too narrow for our feet, particularly in the front part. High heels could contribute to this by pushing our feet forward and squeeze them into the narrow triangle front box. Does not matter if you never heard the term before, the picture below tells you clearly what it is, it is extremely common, but it is not normal.
Figure 1 Bunion Foot (pic source from feet&feet.co.uk)
I have been wearing sharp-pointed heels for more than 20 years, and then I got bunions (apart from the back pain associated with high heels). My podiatrist told me that footwear is the main cause although it could also be a gene problem. I need to change my footwear so that they will not get worse.
Apart from changing my footwear, I noticed a few bunion corrector on the market. I decided to give them a try. The bunion corrector I tried are listed below, and I will share with you my experiences for each of them.
The first one I bought is the original Bunion Sleeve Bunion Corrector. On the Pro side, they are very thin, comfortable just like socks. The best part I liked about this product is that I can actually fit it into my normal shoes without any problem. It is the only bunion corrector I can actually wear during the day. The material is non-slip so they don’t move too much. They did give me some level of relief when I walk a long time.
Figure 2. Bunion Sleeve Bunion Corrector
By saying I can wear them with my normal shoes without problem, it is not 100% accurate. The photos below are showing I wear it with different shoes. As you can see, in terms of appearance, it goes well with the the at the right side, not so much with the shoes at the left...
Figure 3. Bunion Sleeve with Shoes
I also gave a pair to my mum as a gift, her bunions are much worse than mine. As shown in the photo below, my mum’s big toe is pushing towards her second toe. The constant rub between two toes caused a lot of pain for her. She loves this product as the product actually provided a protection layer between the big toe and the second toe so they won’t rub each other directly anymore. I suppose those gel toe separators should be able to help this as well, I will explore them in the future.
Figure 4. Mum's Big Toe Pushing the Second Toe
The Cons. Firstly, I wear them solidly for two months, almost day and night. Nothing really changed physically in terms of ‘Correction’. Secondly, It is quite pricy, $39 on each side, almost like a pair of shoes. Lastly, the material is not very durable as I expected with that price. After two months, I got holes on the top of the big toes already. You can see the black hole on top of the big toe in the photo below.
Figure 5. The hole on the Bunion Sleeve After 2 Months
The second product I tried was a night bunion splint. I bought this off from eBay hoping this could provide some actual ‘Correction’. There are cheap ones and pricy ones on the Internet, could not tell the difference. I bought the cheap one, under $10. The night splint, as the name describes, you have no way to wear them during the day. I can’t walk when I put it on, impossible to wear any shoes. The material is really cheap and uncomfortable, the plastic edges scratch my skin. I struggled quite a while to put it on. The discomfort waked me up during the night, and it is very hard to keep it in place. My conclusion is completely waste of money. Not sure whether the expensive ones would work better though.
Figure 6. The Night Bunion Splint
After the bad experience with the last night splint, I decided to invest in a more expensive one. I bought this Hinged Toe Straightener from Amazon. The quality of this product is apparently much better than the previous one. The instruction came with the product was quite clear, fairly easy to put on without much effort. I do need to fasten the Valco really tight to feel the effect. When it well fastened, It did stretch my toe towards the right position. I can sleep with them with no major problem although they do shift position a bit. However, I have used them at night for 2-3 weeks and found no visible changes. Not sure what will happen if I wear them every night for 2-3 years though. But I gave up at the end of week 3.
Figure 7. The Hinged Bunion Corrector
The last bunion corrector I tried was the following fabric/valco made corrector. This product has a long metal bar fit next to the bunion area to straighten the foot. This product is very comfortable and easy to put on. The fabric is well cushioned, the Valco are very easy to adjust and stay well in the place. It provided immediate relief, my big toes were straightened nicely with the support of the metal bar. The under-foot cushion is quite comfortable too, I can walk on them at home or fit into a wide slipper. Of course, go out with these in normal shoes are not quite possible unless you have a pair of super wide and big shoes. Among all three use-at-home bunion corrector, this is the most comfortable one by far. However, the visible changes to the bunion – yet to be seen.
Figure 8. Fabric Bunion Corrector (The picture on the left is mum wearing it)
In conclusion, I did find that some products are quite good at providing good relief to my bunion pain. However, none of them actually, physically corrected my bunions. I am sharing personal experiences with you in hoping my experiences could help you make a better investment in the bunion corrector and set the realistic expectations on what they can do. Of course, if you are the lucky one whose bunion can really be ‘corrected’ by any of these products or other bunion corrector, please let me know by sending me your comments.
I conclude my findings in the table below.