I’m sure we have all seen those advertisements for bunion splints on Facebook, QVC, Amazon and other outlets. There are toe spacers, and silicone sleeves and even adjustable braces that can be used to help splint your bunion into a better correction – but do they really work?
I have not seen any long term research articles proving that these work, but can they help? Well, when wearing the bunion splint your toe looks good, but why doesn’t it stay that way? Imagine those “yoga toes” or even those little heart toe spacers they put between your toes after getting them painted at a pedicurist. They space your toes out, they can even make them feel good for a little while, but do your toes stay that way after you remove them – no. Certain devices can help stretch tendons and ligaments out, can even help break apart scar tissue and help with a range of motion post-operatively, but is there a long term correction?
In my experience, the bunion splints can help post-operatively to maintain correction while the tendons ligaments and bone are healing, and emphasize correction – however, I have not seen a bunion splint heal or get rid of a bunion. In our practice, I frequently recommend a toe spacer during the healing period, up to three months after surgery, but have not had any success using a bunion splint to remove a bunion without surgery.