My Bunion: I learned that the worst part of the bunion is not the fact that you have a bump and your toe points inward. The biggest issue is that your whole balance is thrown off on the foot with the bunion. I realized that because my toe was out of position, that my arch had also fallen and I was not holding my foot in the right position. The first thing I did was take steps to correct the arch situation. The doctor told me that correcting my arch would prevent the bunion from getting worse.
Things that I tried: The next thing that I tried which really helped was to do some stretching exercises of my toe joint. At first it hurt just to move the toe because of all the build up in the joint. I found an exercise in yoga that really helped. If you take the opposite hand and lace your fingers between your toes and gentle massage on a regular basis it really helps. When I first started I could not even get my fingers between my toes without having a lot of pain. Over time it really freed up my toe joint.
Another really good brace: I had been reading about bunion braces for correction and decided awhile back to try the Foot Smart Bunion Regulator I liked this brace but you can not walk in it so when I saw the hinged bunion splint I thought I would give it a try. The reason that I wanted to try this splint was that I could use it while I was walking. I was hoping for something that I could use while doing exercises like yoga. Having the bunion on one foot it makes it hard to stand and balance on the one foot without shoes on. I thought that the hinged splint would let me walk around and support me in the standing position.
Description: The splint consists of several parts. The actual brace portion is hinged and goes along the side of your foot where you have the bunion. You can put the splint on either foot. The splint is angled to follow and allow for the hump on your bunion. For me this splint was angled too far as though it is made for someone with a huge bunion sticking out. I think they would have been better off to make the splint more straight giving people the option to make adjustments with the straps that attach the splint to the toe and the foot.
Straps: There is a wide strap that goes around your foot near the arch. This is adjustable with velcro on both sides. The strap goes through a slot on the brace and folds over on the top and bottom. It is held in place with velcro. By the toe there is a smaller strap that also velcros on the top and bottom and wraps around the big toe. I felt that the straps on the toe were way to long and they overlap and get in the way. I guess they have to make it one size fits all but my feet are not that small so the toe straps just seem way too long.
Metatarsal Pad: The splint also comes with a little pad that velcros on below the foot just before the toes. I guess people with bunions often need support here and I did find this helpful but thought it was a little odd how you just had to stick it under the strap and it was sort of flopping about. The pad is a good idea but should have been better thought out.
Problems: The biggest problem that I had with the hinged splint was that the hinge allowed my big toe to point up when it met with resistance. This problem made it so that the brace did not give me the support that I needed. When I would try to balance with the brace on my arch would still sink and the toe would point up so it just did not work for me at all. The other problem that I had was that I could not keep the straps on in the right position. The strap that went around my foot kept twisting and adding to the problem with the toe pointing up.
Cost: The Hinged split is really pricey for a hinged piece of plastic and a few velcro straps. I paid about $50 which was way more than I paid for my other brace.
Disappointed: I really wanted to love this brace and had high hopes but it fell short on most points. Now it sits in a drawer and I rarely use it.
Rating: I can not recommend the hinged brace for me but I am giving it 2 out of 5 stars because I think it might work for others with slightly different issues than mine.