It’s understandable why potential alternatives to surgery are popular. After all, if you could fix a problem without undergoing a surgical procedure, why wouldn’t you try? Unfortunately, when it comes to bunions, over-the-counter products rarely deliver results. The reality is that items like bunion pads, cushions, splints, and correctors don’t treat the root cause of bunions, and they don’t offer a long-term solution to bunion pain. To put it another way: no, bunion pads don’t work. We’ll explain further below and also tell you what you can do to prevent and reverse bunions for good:
What Do Bunion Pads Do?
Bunion pads generally come in two sizes. The first is a sock-like design that slips over most of the foot and covers the side of the big toe where the bunion is located. The second bunion pad model –– often referred to as a bunion cushion –– is usually a small gel cushion that can be placed over the bunion with an adhesive.
Bunion pads exist primarily to relieve pain. They create a barrier between the bunion and a person’s shoe, and they prevent the bunion from rubbing up against the side of the shoe directly. Or, at least, that’s the idea. In practice, some individuals find that bunion pads don’t offer much relief at all, and/or that the cushions don’t cover the entirety of their bunion. Worse, some cheap bunion cushions will come unstuck after a few hours of use –– particularly if exposed to water.
Bunions get worse over time. While a bunion might not seem like such a big inconvenience right now, it could continue to grow and become more inflamed as time goes on. (Some people even experience hammertoes, leg, or back pain as a result of untreated bunions.)
Changing your shoes, wearing bunion pads, and/or using bunion splints or correctors may provide temporary relief, but they won’t permanently change the internal dynamics of your foot. Bunions develop because of a misalignment of tendons, muscles, and ligaments within the foot itself. Bunion correctors and pads don’t address these issues.
Note, bunion splints may offer some post-operative benefits to patients. In this scenario, bunion splints can help break apart scar tissue and keep the foot aligned while tendons and ligaments heal after surgery.
Traditional Bunion Surgery vs Minimally Invasive Surgery
If you want to get rid of a bunion once and for all, the only viable option is surgery. Fortunately, bunion-removal procedures have come a long way over the years. Indeed, traditional bunion surgery of the past was considered by many to be one of the most painful medical procedures. Worse, the recovery time was extensive. In many instances, patients had to have stitches, take time off their feet, and face a lengthy recovery period ranging between six weeks and eight months.
Thankfully minimally invasive bunion surgery allows patients to resolve their foot-pain issues without going through such an ordeal. Minimally invasive surgery drastically cuts down on the pain and recovery time associated with traditional bunion surgery. In fact, those who opt for minimally invasive surgery are able to walk out of the operating room and return to daily life without interruption.
If you’ve been struggling with bunions, but have been reticent to pursue surgery, now is the time to reconsider. While it may seem like a good idea to try out bunion pads first, they won’t help solve the problem. Rather, leaving a bunion untreated for longer could make things worse. Keep that in mind moving forward.
At Northwest Surgery Center, we’re pioneers of minimally invasive bunion surgery. Our expert team has years of experience, and we have the skills, knowledge, and tools to ensure you’re able to get back on your feet –– without pain –– in no time. You can check out our gallery of before-and-after pictures here, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.