These bunion pads and insoles can help relieve bunion pain and prevent the bony protrusions from worsening.
You probably already know what bunions look like—but what’s actually behind these painful, bony bumps that can appear on the side of big toe joints? "Bunions form as the big toe pushes against the second toe and forces the great toe joint to stick out," explains Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, a New York City-based podiatrist. "The skin in the area becomes swollen, painful, and red as a result."
Bunions are sometimes hereditary, but tight, narrow shoes can also cause them to form—and worsen—over time. So, in addition to wearing shoes that won't aggravate your bunions (think ones with plenty of arch support and a wide toe box), what’s the best way to prevent bunions from getting worse? Here, podiatrists reveal five over-the-counter products to buy if you suffer from bunions on your feet.
Spenco Arch Support Insoles
Since bunions are often associated with flat feet, placing insoles into shoes that are otherwise flat can help prevent bunions from worsening, explains Dr. Sutera. These over-the-counter inserts from Spenco provide cushioning that better aligns the toes, so bunions don’t become more severe.
Pedifix Visco-Gel Bunion Guard
"The main cause of bunion pain is friction against shoes," says Hillary Brenner, DPM, a New York City-based podiatrist. "I love these guards that have visco-gel embedded in them." Also good: They add cushion and drive down pressure against bunions, she says.
Instability in the arches can also cause bunions to develop, so it’s a good idea to add as much reinforcement as possible to shoes. "By supporting arches with insoles like these Powerstep Orthotics, you help take stress off the toe joint and correct the positioning of foot," says Dr. Brenner.
Dr. Frederick’s Gel Pad Bunion Sleeves
Much like the bunion guards Dr. Brenner loves, these bunion "sleeves" come with a squishy gel pad that sits right against the big toe joint, protecting bunions from rubbing up against uncomfy shoe uppers.