Bunion Splint

A bunion splint is a really simple way of reducing the pain associated with a hallux valgus, more commonly known as a bunion, and can even help prevent or delay the need for surgery.  There are loads of different styles available depending on what you are looking for. 

Bunion splints essentially work in one of two ways, some combining both.  Firstly, they can help correct the deformity at the toe, bringing it back into a normal position.  This prevents stiffness and tightness developing in the joint and surrounding soft tissues, relieving symptoms and helping to stop the progression of the toe deviation.  Secondly, some have padding providing protection over the foot, helping to prevent the lump from rubbing on your shoe.  As well as making activities like walking more comfortable, this can also help prevent the formation of corns and calluses on the foot over the bunion. 

Here we will look at the different styles of bunion splint on the market, how they work and how to pick the right one for you.  If you want to know more about the causes, symptoms and other treatment options, visit the Bunions section

Styles Of Bunion Splint

There are a whole range of different bunions splints out there depending on what you are looking for:

X-ray showing the effective of a bunion splint

1)  Toe Splints: aka bunion regulators that hold the toe in the correct position, some of which also cushion the bunion.  They can be worn during the day in shoes while you are walking around.  They can also be used after bunion surgery.  Best for mild to moderate bunions
2)  Night Splints: These are more substantial bunion splints that are to be worn over night rather than during the day – not for walking in. They pull the toe into better alignment and hold it there all night long.  Good for any stage, mild to severe
3)  Toe Spacers/Stretchers: these sit in between your toes to help hold your toes in a more normal position.  They work best with mild to moderate bunions
4)  Bunion Pads/Guards:  Soft pads, plastic guards or ultra-thin sleeves that cushion the bunion to stop it from rubbing on your shoes.  They don’t correct the position of the toe.  Good for any stage
5)  Bunion Splint Sets: If you aren’t sure what to go for, you can get various sets which contain more than one different type of bunion splint.

Daytime Toe Splints

There are two options of daytime bunion splints, both of which can be worn in shoes. 

Spreader & Protector

Plastic bunion splint

This is a plastic bunion splint that fits over the big toe and in-between the big and second toe to hold them apart.  This helps to move the big toe into the correct position as well as providing protection on the side of the bunion.  They stay in place well simply by wearing a sock and can be worn inside shoes. 

There are a number of different manufacturers of this style of bunion splint such as Dr Rogo and AligNow, but they are all extremely similar.  They are made of medical grade gel and receive average user ratings between 4.2-5/5

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $8/£7)

Bunion Corrector Splint

Bunion corrector splint

These wrap around the big toe drawing it into a good position and anchor around the mid-foot, which helps to support the foot arches.  There is usually a metal bar at the side of the bunion splint which can be moulded to hold the foot in a good position.  This helps to improve the position of the toe joint as well as stretching out muscles, ligaments and tendons.  They are sometimes known as bunion regulators.

There are a number of different manufacturers such as Neo G and 66 Fit, but they all receive average user ratings of around 3.9/5.

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $13/£14)

Bunion Night Splint

Bunion Night Guard

Bunion night guard splint

Bunion night splints work in the same way as day splints, but tend to be more rigid and less flexible.  The advantage of this is that it can provide stronger support to the foot, but as they are less flexible, they are uncomfortable to walk around in, hence being used at night-time. 

Wearing a bunion night splint allows the foot to be held in a good position the whole time you are in bed which is a good proportion of the day.  It certainly makes sense to be stretching the foot out as much as possible and this is a great way to do that. 

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $12/£13)

Bunion Toe Spacers

Toe spacers are a type of bunion splint that sit in-between the toes.  There are three types available, wedges that sit between two toes only, wedges that are anchored around two toes and toe separators that sit in-between all the toes. 

Best Single Toe Spacers

Compare the best toe spacer bunion splints

These bunion splints sit in-between the big toe and second toe.  Some attach around the second toe, others sit freely between the two toes. 

There are a number of different manufacturers but the most popular are Tip & Toes (average user rating 4.5/5), Profoot (4.7/5) and Neo G (5/5).

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $11/£2)

Best Double Spacers

Double loop toe separator bunion splints

These toe spacer bunion splints attach around both the big and second toe.  Some people find this style stay in place better due to the extra anchor, but it will depend on the shape of your toes as to how well they fit.They tend to give less of a stretch than single spacers due to their design

The most popular brands are Pro 11 (average user review 4/5), Toe Buddy (3.8/5) and Genesis (3.9/5).  User reviews aren't quite as good for this style as the single spacers.

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $15/£3)

Whole Foot Toe Stretchers

Toe stretchers such as the Yoga Toe stretch out the entire foot so can work well for bunions

You can also get toe stretchers that sit between each of the toes, stretching out the entire foot into better alignment.  They don't provide as much of a stretch so are better suited to mild hallux valgus. 

You can find out more about how they work and which ones work best in the toe stretchers section.

There are props and cons of each style of these bunion splints.  The wedge inserts can be worn in shoes and tend to push and hold the two toes apart better.  However, they correct the position of the big toe by pushing on the second toe, which can put the second toe out of position. Toe stretchers provide less of a stretch, but hold the foot in a better overall position.  However, they can't be worn in shoes.

Bunion Pads/Guards

There are a number of different styles of bunion pad available, all which work to cushion the bunion and prevent any friction over the area from your shoes.  This helps to reduce pain and the formation of calluses and corns from repeated friction on the area.  They have the advantage that they can be comfortably worn all day, but they don’t actually improve the position of the toe.  So whilst they can be helpful in reducing the symptoms of bunions, they won’t actually improve them or stop them from getting worse. 

Plastic Bunion Guards

Plastic bunion guards can really help reduce pain from bunions

This style of bunion splint simply slides over your big toe.  They are made of soft, flexible gel.  The thin design means they can easily be worn in shoes.  These are the most solid design of bunion pads and extremely durable.

The most popular brands are Pedifix (average user rating 4.4/5) and GelX (4.2/5).

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price £10/£7)

Gel Bunion Pads

Compeed Bunion Pads help reduce the pain and friction from bunions

The most popular brand is Compeed.  They are made of hydrocolloid gel to provide a second skin.  They stick well and mould to the bunion providing instant pain and pressure relief, stay in place for several days and are waterproof.  Slim-line fit so they are comfortable to wear in shoes. 

You get five bunion pads per pack.  These really are the bee's knees – to quote one user “These pads are miracles”. Average user rating 4.4/5

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $25/£5)

Bunion Cushions

Compare the best Bunion Cushions to releive pain and friction

The most popular brand are Dr Scholl's Bunion Cushions.  They are soft, comforting foam cushions that sit over the top of bunions to help prevent friction.  Simply stick one over the desired area – they are self-adhesive and waterproof.  They are especially good at relieving or preventing calluses and hard skin. 

There are six bunion pads in each pack.  They staying in place really well, lasting for a good few days before they need replacing.  They receive good reviews with an average user rating of 4.4/5. 

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $5/£4)

Bunion Sleeves

Bunion sleeves are a great way to reduce pain and friction

Ultrathin, lightweight sleeves with a strategically placed gel pad relieves pain and pressure through the bunion.  They simply slip on over the front of the foot, stay in place well and can be worn underneath socks or tights. 

They are easy to wash making them extremely cost effective.  There are a number of different manufacturers but the most popular are HappyFeet (average user rating 4.9/5) and Pro11 (4/5)

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $12/£5)

Mix & Match Sets

Some manufacturers sell sets containing more than one type of bunion splint.  These can be a good, cost-effective way to try out the different types of supports to find the best style for you in different situations.

Bunion Splint Set

MediToes have a deluxe bunion relief set containing 12 items including various styles of bunion guards, toe spacers and bunion sleeves.

This set receives amazing user reviews scoring 5/5! A great way to try all the different types of bunion splint and work out which work best for you in which situations.

Read: User Reviews   Buy Now: ON SALE (guide price $15/£18)

Top Tips

Some bunion splints can feel a bit uncomfortable to start with, that is quite normal.  You are stretching out tight and stiff parts of your foot so it can take time to adjust.  To avoid any discomfort, start by wearing them for short periods and gradually increase how long you wear them for.  Before you know it, they will feel nice and comfy.

Whilst bunion splints work really well to reduce pain, stiffness and progression, they cannot completely cure a hallux valgus.  You can find out more about the causes, symptoms and other treatment options for a hallux valgus in the following sections.

Bunion Guide: An overview of bunions including common causes
Symptoms: Includes both classic and less common symptoms
Treatment Options: Best treatments including orthotics and exercises
Surgery: Different surgical options available
Recovering from Surgery: Recovery guide for after surgery

Go to Bunion Overview or Common Causes of Foot Pain

*Prices correct as of September 2016.  All prices are subject to change.  Please note we do not stock products directly and therefore have no control over price changes. See Advertising Policy for more information


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See Also

Common Causes of Foot Pain

Diagnose Your Pain

Foot & Ankle Anatomy

Treatment Options for Foot Problems

Top Treatments for Bunions

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