Bunions are bumps that develop beside the big toe's bottom joint 3. When the big toe is under consistent pressure, the bones can begin to shift. The toe slants inward, causing the joint to distend outward. Bunions can be very painful, and they tend to develop further over time 3. In extreme cases, they may require surgery. To prevent bunions from worsening, brace them inside your shoes during the day and splint them at night 3. You can buy splints and braces at most drugstores, or you can make your own.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Hold a piece of memory foam or thick felt against the bunion. Cut a circle of felt or foam about 1 inch wider in diameter than the protrusion. Mark the circumference of the bump on the circle in pencil.
Cut along the circumference pattern, making a doughnut shape. Hold the doughnut around the bunion and check its depth. If the bunion is taller than the material, cut a second doughnut to match the first and glue the two together.
Put on your shoe. Lightly mark the place on the outside of the shoe where the bunion extends furthest. Remove the shoe, and find the same spot on the inside with your finger.
Fasten the doughnut to the inside of the shoe using fabric glue. Before the glue has time to set, place your finger inside the doughnut and press outward, imitating the shape of the bunion. Check the mark on the outside of the shoe to make sure you have the brace in the right place, and adjust it if necessary.
Let the fabric glue dry before you wear the shoes again. When you wear the shoes, the felt or foam doughnut should cushion the bunion, protecting it from pressure.
Cut a piece of thick felt or memory foam to fit between your big toe and second toe. Insert it between your toes so it pushes the big toe into normal alignment. If it doesn't push the big toe far enough, add another layer of felt or foam to double the thickness.
Put on an old sock. Cut around the first two toes to make a fabric cap. Remove the rest of the sock.
Wrap medical tape once or twice around the sock cap to hold the splint in place. Apply the tape above and below the bunion rather than directly over the bunion. Sleep with the splint on to relieve pain and prevent further damage.
To prevent bunions from developing, wear shoes that fit properly and avoid high heels with pointed toes. Applying ice packs or soaking your feet in warm water at the end of the day can reduce bunion pain.
Don't wrap your splint too tightly. If your bunions continue to worsen despite attempts at home remedies, consult your doctor.
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images