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Conservative Management Of Bunions



What Are Bunions?

Put simply, bunions are “normal” bones in “abnormal” positions that normally start off painless but usually become painful overtime. The bunion can be a problem in itself, but it can also be the cause for damage to other structures in your feet. They usually develop over a long period of time but there are some factors that make them develop faster.

Anyone that has painful bunions knows how much discomfort they can cause, especially when trying to buy shoes and trying to continue normal exercise and daily activities. Although conservative options are available, bunions should be professionally checked in order to make sure it isn’t something else causing the pain.

After bunions have developed, they are irreversible except for surgery, but their progression can be slowed with the use of conservative management options. Stage 4 bunions are the most severe type because this is where we begin to see bunions impacting greatly on the way you walk and on the other structures of your feet. These are usually only managed surgically. To avoid getting to stage 4 bunions (as shown in image below), try some of the common treatments below:

Padding/Shoe Softening

Often there are specific areas in your shoes that can be a source of irritation for bunions. You can bring them in for us and we can apply some felt padding to offload these areas for you. Softening/stretching of these shoes can also help reduce these pressures. This can be done at most shoe repair stores.

Toe Separators    

These can be bought made of gel, foam and rubber (we sell many varieties in the clinic). They help reduce the pressure and irritation from neighbouring toes as well as reduce the force from shoes pushing the big toe onto the second toe. The picture below shows one that attaches on the second toe. For some people with unique deformities, off the shelf toe-separators won’t be suitable and custom-made silicon toe-separators can be made for you by one of our clinicians.


Biomechanical Changes

If you pronate excessively (flat arches) and have painful bunions, often orthotics can offer some relief. Off-the-shelf orthotics can be used if you don’t pronate too much, but custom orthotics can also be made if the pronation force is too great and need more control. Available evidence suggests that orthotics can help slow down the progression of bunions.

If you have bunions come in and see us so we can tell you more about your options and answer any other questions you may have.

Thanks for readingMaha



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Shop 2/17-19 East Parade
Sutherland, NSW 2232

Tel: 02 9542 3491