Do Bunion Pads Really Work? (2024)

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.

Treating Bunions

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.

Contact Us

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.

Do Bunion Pads Really Work? (2024)


Do bunion pads really help? ›

How Effective Are They? The level of effectiveness a bunion corrector has largely depends on how severe your bunion is. For the majority of people that do not require surgery, they work well in relieving pain and reducing swelling, corns and calluses.

Is there a bunion corrector that actually works? ›

Unfortunately, there is no medical research or data to support the claim that bunion correctors straighten the big toe. If your bunions are pretty severe, no plastic or elastic device is going to correct them. However, these correctors and splints may provide some pain relief to the big toe.

How long does it take to see results from bunion corrector? ›

This means that bunion correctors are going to need a longer time to help. You are going to need to persist with them for months to get any good affect. There is not going to be an overnight improvement. Persistence is the key here.

Do bunion spacers actually work? ›

Although toe separators can help prevent overlapping toes, there is no evidence to suggest that they will cure your bunions or provide any long-term correction for misaligned toes. They may provide some short-term relief but unfortunately the effects will not last and they certainly will not get rid of your bunions.

How can I shrink my bunions naturally? ›

  1. Massage and Exercise Your Feet. One of the simplest ways to treat your bunions without surgery is to, in fact, exercise your feet. ...
  2. Take a Paracetamol. ...
  3. Soak Your Feet in a Foot Bath. ...
  4. Ice Your Feet. ...
  5. Put Your Feet Up! ...
  6. Try Castor Oil. ...
  7. Try Bunion Pads. ...
  8. Try Bunion Splints.
Jul 20, 2022

Can you straighten a bunion without surgery? ›

In most cases, bunions can be treated nonsurgically. One of the podiatrists from our team can examine your bunion(s) and recommend a conservative treatment which includes one or more of the following: Custom shoe orthotics (inserts) that relieve pressure on the joint and align your weight in a more beneficial way.

How do you shrink a bunion without surgery? ›

Bunions can be managed at home and with the help of a medical professional such as a podiatrist to reduce symptoms. Options include changing footwear if necessary, using pain relievers, doing bunion stretches, and even using nighttime splints. However, bunions don't shrink, dissolve, or reverse from these treatments.

What is the best bunion corrector for podiatrists? ›

Caretras Bunion Corrector

If you're looking to help temporarily realign your bunion, consider using this corrector recommended by Sharkey. It helps relieve discomfort, pressure, and inflammation by constantly applying gentle pressure when on.

What is the new technology to remove bunions? ›

Lapiplasty has been called a “paradigm shift ” in bunion correction surgery. The surgeon no longer has to cut freehand. A patented instrument holds the metatarsal bone in correct position in all three dimensions at the same time before the surgeon makes any cuts.

Do toe spreaders help bunions? ›

While the scientific evidence supporting the use of toe spacers for bunions is limited, many people report experiencing relief from their bunion symptoms when using these devices. While toe spacers may not be a cure for bunions, they can potentially provide some relief for those suffering from this painful condition.

Is there a way to stop a bunion from getting worse? ›

Invest in orthotics

Custom orthotics are special shoe inserts designed for your foot shape and needs. Orthotics redistribute your weight, relieve pressure on your bunions, and offer extra padding and support. Orthotics are available for all types of footwear, including dress shoes and athletic shoes.

Can you reverse bunion damage? ›

Bunions can be uncomfortable, and when left untreated, can become extremely painful and can prevent people from resuming daily activities such as walking, driving, or sleeping comfortably. Bunions that are left untreated cannot be reversed, and are likely to get worse with time.

How often should you wear a bunion corrector? ›

During the first 10 days, wear it progressively (1 hour per day, 2 hours per day, then a few hours, etc.) and pull it backwards little by little to gently correct the big toe deformity. It can be worn as a preventive tool or over longer periods of treatment for hallux valgus.

Are most people happy with bunion surgery? ›

The majority of patients are very happy with their bunion operation. Assuming the patient follows the postoperative instructions carefully, the outcomes are very good. There are risks of bunion surgery, however. Delayed bone healing can occur with any foot surgery, but this is rare.

When should you wear a bunion pad? ›

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.

What is the best thing to wear for bunions? ›

Toe Guards: A guard slips over and separates the big toe while protecting the bunion. Socks: Well-padded socks can be a good preventative against injuries while providing ample comfort. Some come with built-in toe pockets and separators to further support the bunion.

How long should you wear bunion protectors? ›

During the first 10 days, wear it progressively (1 hour per day, 2 hours per day, then a few hours, etc.) and pull it backwards little by little to gently correct the big toe deformity. It can be worn as a preventive tool or over longer periods of treatment for hallux valgus.

Do Tailors bunion pads work? ›

Will orthotics for tailor's bunion help? Orthotics can be useful in reducing the load at the site of the tailor's bunion to reduce symptoms and progression of the deformity. Orthotics will not correct the existing deformity this can only be achieved through surgery.


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