Bummed out over bunions: Do toe spacers and splints actually help relieve pain and swelling?

“We grade bunions into four stages: One (none), two (mild), three (moderate) and four (severe) based on how much deviation the big toe has towards the smaller toes,” said Alexandra Foo, a podiatrist from Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

“Generally, out of 10 patients with foot pain, we see about three to four people with painful bunions,” she said.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?

Bunions typically present as a bulge at the base of your big toe in the beginning and may be easy to miss. As it progresses, the bulge swells and reddens. Hardened skin such as corns and calluses may also form around it. 

Meanwhile, your big toe begins to deviate from its original position and bends towards the second toe. In severe cases, it may even overlap with the second toe. There could be pain or a burning sensation when you try to bend your big toe, or it just feels numb.

HOW DO BUNION SPLINTS AND TOE SPACERS WORK?

You might have seen advertisements for bunion splints and toe spacers. They don’t cost much (as little as S$20) and they seem to promise relief from redness, swelling and pain on the feet. But do they actually work?

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