Bunions: Expert explains causes and treatments
Bunions are bony lumps that form on the side of feet, and according to the NHS, surgery is the only way to get rid of them.
But a well-known tool for stopping nail polish smudging, often used when someone goes for a pedicure, could be a simple way to treat painful symptoms.
Toe spacers are plastic or foam pads that sit between the toes.
Dr Aaron Horschig, a physical therapist, author and strength coach working in Missouri, recommended the tool for preventing and treating bunions on TikTok.
Posting to his channel he said: “I am a big fan of using toe spacers, like Correct Toes which, like braces to the teeth, help realign toes with the metatarsals of your foot.”
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@flexifoot10 Video Credit: Squat university. Get your Toe Spacers at FlexiFoot today!! LINK IN BIO #foot #foothealthcare #toe #toespacers #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound – jodz
Toe spacers are available for as little as £4.99 on Amazon.
Dr Horschig said they can “decrease the angle” of an existing bunion, as well as ease pain, because, over time, they widen the top of the foot, forcing the bones to return to normal position.
A study published in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association in 2018 found wearing toe spacers for eight months reduced pain and increased flexibility in women with moderate bunions.
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Dr Horschig also suggested another way to help the shape of the foot return to normal.
He added: “Just getting wider toe box shoes that help the toes to spread back out can reverse the negative reaction.
“We wear shoes that are way too narrow and over time our foot adapts to the shape of the shoe.”
The NHS also recommends wearing wide shoes with a low heel and soft sole, along with some other tips:
- Hold an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a tea towel to the bunion for up to five minutes at a time
- Try bunion pads (soft pads you put in shoes to stop them rubbing on a bunion) – you can buy these from pharmacies
- Take paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Try to lose weight if you’re overweight
The health body advises seeing a GP if:
- Pain from a bunion has not improved after trying home treatments for a few weeks
- The pain is stopping you doing your normal activities
- Your bunions are getting worse
- You have bunions and diabetes – foot problems can be more serious if you have diabetes
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