Can A Bunion Splint Help Avoid Bunion Surgery?

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Can A Bunion Splint Help Avoid Bunion Surgery?

When the joint of your big toe (the metatarsophalangeal joint, also called the MTP joint) becomes misaligned it will form a bony protrusion called a bunion. Bunions can be very painful, and the misaligned MTP joint can impair your mobility, make wearing shoes extremely uncomfortable, and even cause other bones in your foot to move out of alignment too. Bunions are a progressive condition that will become worse over time without treatment. So what are the options for bunion treatment? Conservative treatments are always the first step to relieve the pain and pressure from a bunion. One option you may have heard about is bunion splints. But do they really work to help patients avoid bunion surgery?

What Is Bunion Surgery?

There are three main surgical strategies to correct your bunion: 

  • Osteotomy: This option involves an incision in the joint to realign the position of your big toe
  • Exostectomy: This option removes the bony formation of the bunion but does not realign the toe
  • Arthrodesis: For this option, your podiatrist will realign your toe and stabilize the damaged joint with metal plates and screws

Recovery after bunion surgery can take up to 8 weeks and it is never really convenient. For the first several days, you are required to stay off your foot, keep your foot elevated, and ice your foot frequently to reduce swelling. You may be required to wear a cast or a brace and you will not be able to drive for up to 8 weeks after surgery. For this reason, many patients seek more conservative treatments to delay bunion surgery until it is unavoidable. When a patient is not ready to commit to bunion surgery, your podiatrist can recommend several non-surgical treatment options including bunion splints.


What Is A Bunion Splint?

A bunion splint is an orthotic device that acts to realign your big toe. There are several different styles of bunion splints including rigid, hinged, and soft designs. Basically, a splint uses strapping and padding to wrap around your toe and foot to pull your big toe straighter and relieve the pain and pressure of your bunion. Bunion splints are typically worn at night or during periods of rest during the day.

Does A Bunion Splint Work To Avoid Bunion Surgery?
The simple answer is yes and no. The truth is that the only way to effectively repair a bunion and realign your toe is with bunion surgery. But because bunion surgery can be inconvenient and recovery after bunion surgery takes time and impacts your ability to function as you normally do, there are things you can do to find relief until you are ready for surgery. Bunion splints can be an effective way to relieve the pain and pressure of a bunion and even slow the progress. Bunion splints range in price and so they can be an affordable conservative treatment option for many patients.

Other conservative treatment options for bunions include:

  • Ice packs, warm compresses, and massage
  • Ultrasound therapy to break up adhesions in the soft tissue and reduce inflammation
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling
  • Custom orthotics to help properly align your foot
  • Shielding the bunion with moleskin or a protective gel cushion
  • Appropriate footwear that can provide ample space and prevent pressure and friction

Your podiatrist will typically recommend trying more conservative treatments for bunion pain until:

  • Your movement and mobility are impacted by bunion pain
  • You are experiencing severe and frequent or chronic bunion pain or you have chronic swelling and inflammation
  • You are unable to wear shoes comfortably
  • You are experiencing related injuries or impairments such as bone spurs, bursitis, skin breakdown, hammertoes, and structural changes to other bones in your foot
  • You are unable to participate in activities you enjoy due to a painful bunion
  • Conservative treatment options are not providing pain relief
  • You have the time to recover safely from bunion surgery


Conservative Bunion Treatments And Bunion Surgery In NYC

If you are experiencing moderate or severe pain or reduced mobility due to a bunion, our expert team of NYC foot doctors in Manhattan can expertly assess your bunion pain, your lifestyle, and your goals for treatment, and determine if conservative treatment or bunion surgery is the right option for you. We provide accurate diagnosis and comprehensive foot and ankle care and have the tools and technologies necessary to provide a variety of tailored treatment approaches including minimally invasive bunion surgery options at each of our Manhattan Podiatry Clinics. If you are experiencing pain due to bunions or any other foot or ankle condition pain, call To Healthy Feet Podiatry at 1-917-398-3668 or fill out the contact form to book your appointment at our Upper East Side, Times Square, Midtown Grand Central, or Downtown Wall Street locations today.



Q: How long will bunion surgery take?
A: Bunion surgery will typically take less than one hour and is usually performed under local anesthetic. You will be released the same day to recover in the comfort of your own home.

Q: Will bunion surgery fix my bunions permanently?
A: Bunion surgery is an effective solution for most people as it has an approximate success rate of 85-90%. However, if patients who undergo surgery to repair their bunions continue to wear narrow, high-heeled shoes, especially too soon, they may be prone to developing bunions again.

Q: How long will it take to recover after bunion surgery?
A: Recovering after bunion surgery can take up to 8 weeks. For the first few days, you will have to stay off your foot, keep your foot elevated, and ice your foot frequently to reduce swelling. You may be required to wear a cast or a brace and you will not be able to drive for up to 8 weeks after surgery.

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