My Bunion Story: On one foot I have a bunion that just seemed to appear one day. In retrospect I think I am probably prone to them and then one day I twisted my ankle and instead of going to the doctor I limped around on it until it healed. In the process I did not realize that I was turning my right foot in to compensate for the injury and apparently kept it up after the ankle was healed. By the time I noticed it, the damage was done. I went to a doctor to see about getting it corrected and after listening to how they would have to break a bone in my foot to fix it… And…. that I would have to be off the foot for 4-6 weeks I decided to try something else. The doctor suggested that if I corrected the fallen arch on the foot that it would not progress further so the first thing that I did was to get shoes that would support the arch. Correcting the arch seemed to stop the progression but did little for the pain. I started doing some yoga stretches and realized that everything was really tight and so I read up on braces to help minimize some of the pain from the bunion. When I found this brace I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did.
Description Of The FootSmart Bunion Regulator Night Brace
The brace consists of a hard plastic frame that holds your big toe away from your foot. There is a padded area that sits against the toe to make the brace more comfortable. Normally when you have a bunion the toe is pointing inward and this situation can cause pain as well as deformity over time. A lot of people think that the bunion is just a bony growth on that knuckle but it starts with the toe and foot being out of alignment. So to try to stop the pain I wanted to try to loosen up that joint as much as possible and get it as close to the normal position without surgery. To hold the toe in place there are velcro straps that go around each side of the foot to hold the brace in place. You can adjust the straps up or down depending on the size of your foot. When you order the brace you have to order one for your left foot or right foot. If you have bunions on both feet you will need one for the right and one for the left. The brace comes in three sizes but can be adjusted to your specific size. The brace is worn at night while sleeping.
When I first put the brace on it hurt a little stretching the toe out so I loosened it so that it was tolerable. Otherwise I would not be able to leave it on and sleep. Gradually I was able to increase the pressure on the toe. In addition to this I continued to do the yoga stretching of the toes which involved lacing my fingers between the toes and wiggling them a little. When I first started with the brace and stretches I could barely do that because it was so painful but after a couple months I could wear the brace or do the stretches without causing too much discomfort. The brace can not be worn while walking as it would be extremely uncomfortable. I can hobble to the bathroom with just wearing one but that’s about it.
Did The Brace Cure My Bunion?
Frankly I do not think it is possible to completely cure a bunion but the brace in conjunction with getting supportive shoes and the stretching did seem to stop the progression of my bunion and while you can look at my foot and still see I have a bunion, I do not have the pain that was associated with it in the past. I think that wearing the brace helps to provide a gentle long stretch similar to the yoga stretches but clearly I could not spend a whole night with my fingers between my toes so the brace does that job.
How Long I Used It
When I first started using it I put it on every night. At first I could only wear it a couple hours but eventually I could keep it on all night. After a few weeks I started wearing it less frequently and now I maybe put it on once a month or so. Of course I am careful to NEVER wear shoes that put pressure on the bunion and always support my arch.
Ten Years Later
Ten years ago I was in pain from the bunion now it is just a cosmetic problem and an issue not being able to wear certain shoes. I am hoping I will never have to have the surgery as long as I am careful to keep the foot loose and not wear shoes that will make it worse. Today it is slightly better looking than it was when I first noticed it and I am virtually pain free.
The Bottom Line
So is this going to cure your bunion? I doubt it, but would I recommend it? I sure would because it helped me avoid a potentially painful surgery and recovery that has no guarantee of working.