Orthotics for Bunion
- Treatment Reviews
- Videos & Guides
- Chronicity 4 - 6 Months
This is a topic I unfortunately have a wealth of experience with. I suffered a basketball injury to my right foot ~10 years ago that left me with a bunion and hallux rigidus (stiff big toe). I've accepted that it will never heal, but I've learned how to manage it so that it has virtually no impact on me running 80 miles/week.
First things first - I would advise against the Nike Frees. I tried the 3.0 three years ago, and while they felt great (light and fast), they were a major factor in me developing a significant foot injury (capsulitis) that left me unable to walk without pain for a year. I thought that I'd never run again. Because of the Free's last, I inadvertently began overusing the outside of my right foot, resulting in my big toe (with the bunion) not doing its share of the work. The first sign, which I promptly ignored, was peroneal tendonitis along the outside of the right calf. I foam-rolled / "sticked" it away and continued running high mileage. Then the ball of my right foot swelled up and running became impossible.
I saw several orthopedic surgeons, a couple physical therapists, bought two expensive pairs of orthotics, and finally relearned how to use my big toe after a trying year.
I've learned that I need to do the following to keep my foot fully functional:
*Always be aware of my gait when walking and running. Proprioception is a funny thing in that you can sometimes lose it without knowing. I now periodically "check in" with my foot to make sure I feel the big toe pushing off and taking on about 2/5 of the load.
*Stick with lightweight stability shoes. I like New Balance because the toe box is typically fairly wide. The 90x series was great for me and I use the 1190 now. The Saucony Mirage is another one I've had success with. You may require a different shoe, but I'd recommend sticking with some support, although you don't have to go over 10 ounces.
*Interestingly, I now depend on the Correct Toes by Dr. Ray McClanahan. I tried a couple of the cheap spacers before, but the fact I can slap some socks and shoes on top of these make them well worth the expensive price. I wear them all day and night except for when I'm running or doing some other moderate physical activity.
*I have to spend about 5 minutes pre-run and preferably 20 either post-run or in the evening massaging my foot and finger-spacing my toes. My left hand spaces and my right thumb goes in between and massages the knots/bubbles out of the ball of my foot near the big toe area. I also wiggle the big toe around a bit while it makes all kinds of arthritic cracking noises to try to keep the range of motion that I have left.
That's about all I can think of at the moment.
from my own perspective, another non-invasive way is to be fitted with orthotics by a specialist (i.e. NOT store bought)...I put off having the surgery knowing the risks and rehab associated and when eventually, the pain was so intense, had to bite the bullet and attend a local orthopaedic specialist (a man of integrity) he advised that 'yes, he could ' but referred me to a specialist in the field of orthotics' - have NEVER looked back since my first set that fit into all my shoes.
- Chronicity 4 - 6 Months
I've got Bunions and have had them since I was a early teenager. They would constantly give me grief, especially after a long day of walking or hiking which is what I love doing. My mother, and her grandmother has them so I'm assuming there is some sort of hereditary connection there, but wearing narrow shoes definitely contributes to the problem too. So avoid narrow shoes if you can. I find leather shoes are the best as they soften over time and mould to the shape of your foot, instead of contorting your foot to the shape of the shoe as most cheap shoes do these days. About 1 year ago I went to see a Podiatrist. She diagnosed me with very flat, nearly non existent arches and pronounced knees and prescribed custom made insoles to put in my shoes. I shit you not, within 2 weeks my bunions stopped hurting. I know it seems like some ridiculous tv infomercial that sounds to good to be true, but it's legit...no more pain. My flat arches and pronounced knees means I used to put alot of pressure on the ball of my foot under my big toe (right below the bunion) instead of distributing the weight of my body evenly across my whole foot. This aggravates the bunion, surrounding nerves, surrounding tendons and the big toe joint which contributes to the bunion growing in size and the pain it gave me. Since I've gotten the insoles however, the pain has 99% gone. There were a few times when it felt tender after 15km+ hiking through mountains, but that's to be expected of even healthy feet. I've heard surgery isn't always successful and can be quite painful. If the cosmetic issue of bunions doesn't bother you and you just want to get rid of the pain, I HIGHLY suggest talking to a Podiatrist about correct insoles for your feet.
I have what my podiatrist called "slight" bunions and I have very high arches so maybe that affects things differently. The podiatrist gave me a pair of orthotics that give me arch support but I rarely wear them... I can't feel the difference to be honest. What matters a lot to my comfort is having some wiggle room in the toe box, good foot flexion if walking long distance, and decent shock absorption (via padded insoles if necessary). With low arches you might have slightly different needs. Mostly though I can wear any flat or low heeled shoe in normal widths. I love heels but anything over 2.5 inches hurts my feet after a few hours... all my weight inevitably lands on the ball of my foot right where my bunions are. So unless it's a special occasion, I don't do high heels anymore.