A bunion is a bony bump that forms at the base of the big toe. Bunions can be caused by medical conditions like arthritis or from frequent use of shoes that don’t fit properly. A bunion splint is one type of noninvasive bunion treatment method.

Early signs of a bunion can be pain along the inside of the foot when walking or wearing narrow shoes. Bunions can cause redness, tenderness, swelling, and chronic foot pain.

The bunion causes the big toe to begin to point toward the smaller toes. Bunions are more common in women than men. Wearing narrow-toed, high heeled shoes is a contributing cause for developing bunions.

Treatment for bunions begins with noninvasive methods like wearing orthotics and good-fitting, supportive shoes. A good shoe for bunions has a wide toe box and a supportive sole like a running shoe. A doctor may recommend a pain reliever like an over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

Bunion splints are orthotic devices designed to help alleviate the pain and pressure caused by the bunion. Bunion splints strap to the foot and may cause gentle pressure on the big toe as it forces it in a more natural position.

Some bunion splints are made to be worn while walking. These have flexible sides to allow the foot to flex naturally with footsteps. Quality bunion splints have cushioned straps and padded areas to make wearing the splint as comfortable as possible.

A type of bunion orthotic called a bunion regulator is worn overnight. Bunion regulators gradually stretch the tendons and muscles of the foot to encourage the normal placement of the toe instead of the abnormal direction caused by the bunion.

A bunion brace may be worn inside shoes to give support and alleviate pressure on the bunion. Bunion braces typically cover more of the foot than bunion splints. Bunion braces fit snuggly around the big toe and the ball and top of the foot.

The physician may show the patient how to do some exercises for the foot. Stretching exercises for bunions can help reduce the pressure on the joint. A corticosteroid injection may be administered to reduce inflammation.

Surgery to correct the bunion may be necessary if bunion splints, other orthotics for bunions, and other noninvasive bunion treatments do not allow the person to function without pain from the bunion. The doctor may want to continue to try nonsurgical treatments unless the foot pain is unbearable or interferes with the patient’s life.

If surgery is performed, the physician may recommend a bunion orthotic for a period of time after surgery. A bunion orthotic or surgical boot can allow the foot to heal properly. People recovering from bunion surgery should follow the surgeons instructions to avoid possible complications like infection.