There are several products on the market for various issues related to bunions.
“Better shoes”, as I related earlier, is a valuable choice. “Better” means several things, including fashionable. Comfortable usually comes down to padded footbed, wider, less pointy toe box, and flexibility and flexibility in the right places. Over the years, many of the women said shoe choices have improved. Some shoe stores focus exclusively on “comfort” shoes and may allow customers to wear the shoes at home for a week or two, to assess comfort better.
Custom and off the shelf orthotics. Most use them. Custom orthotics are partially covered by insurance, until you’re on medicare. Medicare doesn’t cover custom orthotics. So, just when your feet hurt the most from bunions, they’re not going to cover them. Insensitive, stupid, and mean, in my opinion.
The main products that focus on specific toe issues fall into the categories below. However, almost none of our interviewees buy them and use them. They may have tried them but found them to be inadequate for several reasons. These categories are:
Bunion pads that pad the bunion bump, reducing pressure and wear on the bump. You’ll need even wider shoes, depending on the thickness of the pad.
Splints, which straighten the big toe. But they can’t be worn in shoes, make walking difficult, and really aren’t comfortable to wear to bed at night as they catch on bedding or annoy your partner.
Toe spacers or separators. Typically soft silicone pads between the toes, usually just the between the big toe and the second toe. They can be worn in some shoes. They will cut off blood circulation to the toes if they are too tight. And they tend to slip and slide around if you are active.
Toe stretchers that stretch out all the toes. You can’t walk in them. Can’t be worn in shoes, either. They can only be worn for short periods of time. They provide short, temporary relief. Yes, it feels good like a good stretch. But you don’t stretch anything for 8 hours, so, short term only.
These products sell for prices from $2 to $65. Custom orthotics cost from $300 to $800. Quarterly pedicures are about $45 each quarter.
Overall, the problem with toe spacers is their comfort level. They are really not comfortable on the underside of the toes. They’ll move around when worn, get moist from sweat resulting in being slippery, they’ll rip, they’re too soft to really align the big toe and can’t uncross crossed toes. Interviewees did not like them or any of the other products, save for some bunion pads.