The 8 Best Products for Bunion Support
NatraCure's Gel Bunion Guard provides cushioning and prevents toe friction
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Verywell Health / Sabrina Jiang
Bunions, which involve the swelling of the first joint of the big toe, can cause severe pain for anyone, but “tight shoes, especially shoes with a narrow toe box, can help promote the development of bunions and aggravate bunion symptoms,” says New York City podiatrist Dr. Suzanne Levine. To avoid worsening the development of your bunions, Dr. Levine recommends using products for bunion support.
When looking for a product for bunion support, choose one that will separate the toes, provide a cushion for the joint, and give arch support. If you're dealing with foot pain, it’s recommended to consult with a podiatrist. We researched dozens of products for bunion support and evaluated them for material, price, comfort, and force applied.
An assistant professor of orthopedics from our Medical Expert Board reviewed the contents of this article for medical accuracy surrounding what to look for in bunion support products and when to use them.
Here are the best products for bunion support on the market today.
Easy to clean
Helps with multiple issues
Needs some readjustment after movement
Relieve any pain and temporarily realign your toes with the Caretras Bunion Corrector. This product provides optimal support for the entire foot area when you are moving around your home or sleeping at night. How the product works is a fabric fastener splint wraps around the big toe and helps straighten it with the use of a strap around the center of the foot. This pulls that big toe more in line, thus relieving any pain you might be experiencing. Additionally, the splint is made with flexible elastane, which should feel comfortable against the skin and make for durable use.
When using it is important to note, though, that while it is called a “corrector” this product, like all over-the-counter bunion products, only works to relieve the pain while wearing. Also, if you are trying to wear shoes, you will likely have to size up because the support device is bulkier than your typical sock.
Price at time of publication: $23
Type: Splint/toe spreader | Arch Support Level: None
Easy to clean
Can be worn all day
Can cause skin irritation
For ultimate comfort, consider getting a bunion supporter that is made out of a gel-based material, like the NatraCure Gel Big Toe Bunion Guard. This product works in two areas. First, it slips over that big toe and covers the bunion, which helps prevent any irritation or pain when you’re walking around in shoes or barefoot. Second, the product separates the big toe from the second toe. This is important because when bunions form, they rotate the big toe inward toward the second toe. The added separator will help separate the two toes and temporarily straighten the big toe. This should make it more comfortable to walk around and relieve pressure on that area.
Price at time of publication: $19
Type: Big toe guard/toe spreader | Arch Support Level: None
Have to shape to foot
One of the best ways to address bunions is through arch support, because a lack of support at the arch will lead to more pressure on the big toe and further exacerbate a bunion. The Spenco PolySorb Cross Trainer Insoles offer cushioned support for the arch if you are working out or just walking around town running errands. All it takes is placing the insoles in your favorite pair of shoes and it will provide support for the foot all day long. Also, the friction-reducing fabric reduces blisters and curbs any odors.
Price at time of publication: $25
Type: Insole | Arch Support Level: High
Hard to use with narrow shoes
Depending on the type of bunion you are experiencing, merely separating the toes might offer optimal pain relief throughout the day. This toe spreader is made with silicone that wraps around the second toe. The noninvasive design then helps keep the big toe straight and prevents it from turning inward toward the second toe. What makes the product so great is that it is smaller than other devices on the market, so that makes it easy to wear either with or without shoes. But, it is important to note that the device offers no shield around the actual bunion. This means that there could be some friction caused by wearing shoes because there is no shield over the impacted area.
Price at time of publication: $13
Type: Toe spreader | Arch Support Level: None
Address both irritation and toe alignment with the Flyen Bunion Sleeves Kit. This all-in-one kit provides a sleeve that can go over the entirety of the big toe and midfoot area. This sleeve is crafted with medical-grade silicone that provides shock absorption on the foot when walking. The kit also comes with toe separators if alignment is a concern. All you have to do is place the toe spacer in between the big toe and second toe before placing the sleeve over the entire foot.
Price at time of publication: $20
Type: Big toe sleeve | Arch Support Level: Moderate
Ideal for active people
Variety of choices
If you are unsure about what product might work best for your bunions then consider getting this all-encompassing kit that includes a variety of separators, pads, and spacers for bunion relief. The affordable kit comes with 14 different pieces to try on your big and second toes. Each of the pieces is made with a soft gel-like material that will provide optimal comfort throughout the day. The material is also super flexible, so it makes it easy to take the products off and on. Plus, the products are washable, so it is easy to reuse them over and over again. If you are trying to figure out if separators or bunion pads might work better for your foot, this kit might be a great option to test out.
Price at time of publication: $15
Type: Toe spreaders | Arch Support Level: None
Great for sleeping
Keeps toes separated
Protects against blisters
Lacks gel spacer between toes
Who said that bunion relief required a bulky product? These innovative socks address pain relief caused by bunions by separating the big toe from the second toe with a cushioned pocket that is built into the sock. This pocket helps minimize any friction between the two toes and provides pain relief from the bunions. Since there is a built-in pocket, that means that the sock also addresses alignment issues that may be caused by a bunion. So it works to keep the big toe in proper alignment when wearing the sock throughout the day. The material is comfortable against the skin and helps actively relieve any pain when wearing.
Price at time of publication: $21
Type: Sock | Arch Support Level: None
Provides pain relief
Molds to foot
Give your gait some extra enforcement by placing the Powerstep Original Arch Support Insoles in your shoes when walking around. Arch support is key to relieving any pressure the big toe might be experiencing that further exacerbates bunions. That is why finding an insole that provides firm support, especially if your foot is flatter, is necessary to address pain. The insole has dual-layer cushioning that offers a balance between support and comfort when walking around. When wearing, it will help cradle both the arch and heel of the foot as you propel forward. This should limit any excess stress that you might be feeling at the front of the foot, as well as with the other ligaments.
Price at time of publication: $29
Type: Insole | Arch Support Level: High
When selecting products for bunion support, we spoke with podiatrists and then spent hours combing the web for the best and most effective products. These experts include:
After taking all of our options into consideration, we determined which to feature based on key criteria recommended by podiatrists: toe separators, bunion support, arch support, and materials.
Once we narrowed down our options, we compared each treatment's benefits to its price tag. While some choices on our list may be more expensive, we wanted to give a wide range of options that would fit all needs and budgets. Based on all of these factors, we compiled this list of the best products to provide bunion support.
When determining what material to look out for to help with your bunion, Dr. Sanders, says it “depends on where the bunion is and the type of bunion.” Most importantly, you want a soft and breathable fabric that will not irritate the outside of the bunion when it comes in contact with the product. For bunions that deviate from the big toe joint, there are “splints that have Velcro that supports it and puts the toe back into the best position,” Dr. Sanders says.
She also says that some patients find comfort with products that are made out of silicone and are able to offer comfortable padding for the bunion. Similarly, Dr. Brenner recommends gel-based pads. “Gel embedded in it will help take the pressure off the bunion,” she says.
In each toe of the foot, there are long bones called metatarsals. The first metatarsal, which is in the big toe, will start to jut outward in the creation of a bunion. This will then cause that big toe to turn inwar towards the second toe. “To try and fix that, we put a wedge in between the first and the second toe to bring that big toe back straight and take pressure off the bunion,” Dr. Brenner says. Look for toe separators made of gel or other soft, flexible materials to prevent discomfort during use.
This is not a permanent fix to your bunion, however, like all over-the-counter products available for bunion relief. “It is really just going to provide some support and some cushioning,” Dr. Sanders says. The toe will deviate back to its original state when the product is not worn. “The objective of these products is to prevent pain and really just manage the symptoms,” she adds.
Trauma to the foot can worsen bunions and further their formation. Insoles and socks with padding around the toe can help cushion the foot from any accidental injuries that could exacerbate bunion pain. “The support devices help take pressure or friction off the bunion from hitting on the shoe,” Dr. Brenner says. “Little gel cushions in the product can take pressure off of the bunion too so it doesn’t get as red from rubbing on the shoe.” If you find yourself feeling irritated when your shoe comes in contact with your bunion, then it is recommended to find a protective sleeve with a gel pad or insert that will provide the protection you need.
Flat feet are a common cause of bunions, so products that provide arch support can help reduce the reoccurrence of bunions. “People with high-arched feet can get bunions, of course. But it is much more common with people with flatter feet,” Dr. Sanders says. “If you are supporting that arch then that will put a lot less pressure on that big toe joint mainly in the gait cycle.” Insoles, socks, and shoes with arch support are easy ways to care for your feet while you go about your day. Dr. Sanders recommends doing a trial period with insoles because they can feel uncomfortably firm when first using them. “If you have flat feet then you need really hard arch support, but not everyone can tolerate that,” she says. If you find that specific insoles are not working for your feet then consider visiting your local podiatrist for other ways to relieve your bunion pain and support your arches.
Bunion supports are recommended by podiatrists following surgery. “I advise most of my post-bunionectomy patients to wear a custom-made orthotic after they start wearing their regular shoes and sneakers,” Dr. Levine says, adding: “This is especially the case if the patient overpronates when walking.” Splints, which are available over-the-counter, are another option recommended for patients following surgery to assist them after the bandages have been removed. Consulting with your podiatrist can help guide you on the type of bunion support that will work best for your feet.
"If you have or are developing a bunion, see your podiatrist," says Dr. Levine. "Proper fitting shoes with a wider toe box can help forestall the worsening of but cannot reverse bunions."
Dr. Levine says that bunion supports used specifically after surgery should only be worn for a few weeks before stopping. But if you’re using bunion supports prior to receiving surgery, or because you’re not considering surgery, then the timeline differs. These products can be worn whenever needed to help forestall the development of worse symptoms or provide pain relief. Bunion supports, depending on the user, can further exacerbate the symptoms instead of helping the joint. If the product is causing abrasions, increased pain, or ulcers, then cease using the bunion support and consult with your podiatrist about other options available.
Certified running coach and marathon runner Christine Luff has spent years researching and recommending over-the-counter foot health products for runners. She sticks to brands that are recommended by organizations such as the APMA and tells her trainees to seek advice from their podiatrist or other healthcare professional.
Additional reporting to this story by Danielle Zoellner
As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like yourself find the best products for your daily life.Price at time of publication: $23Type:Arch Support Level: Price at time of publication: $19Type:Arch Support Level: Price at time of publication: $25Type:Arch Support Level: Price at time of publication: $13Type: Arch Support Level: Price at time of publication: $20Type: Arch Support Level:Price at time of publication: $15Type: Arch Support Level: Price at time of publication: $21Type: Arch Support Level: Price at time of publication: $29Type:Arch Support Level: