The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

NYC Podiatrists Discuss: 3 OTC Products for Bunion Relief

Posted by on Friday, June 1st, 2018


You’ll see many products labeled “Bunion Fix,” “Bunion Relief,” or “Bunion Repair,” but can an inexpensive drugstore purchase provide the help you need? No doubt, the option to treat a bunion at home yourself carries its advantages. Some of these purchases may slow the progression of a bunion or make wearing shoes more comfortable, but surgery is the only way to truly “correct” a bunion. If you live near Manhattan or White Plains, a consultation with a podiatric surgeon at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine offers the quickest resolution to your foot problems.

otc products for bunion relief
An OTC bunion product may relieve some of the pain you’re experiencing, but surgery is the only way to truly correct a bunion. [Image Source: Wikimedia]

1. Bunion Pads

Most bunion-related pain involves friction and pressure from the shoe rubbing up against the bunion region. Continuous irritation leads to redness, swelling, and blistering. A bunion pad places a cushy surface between the bunion and the skin to alleviate the abrasion. Pads for bunions can be made from simple felt, moleskin, or a more advanced gel pad sleeve. Gel pads are considered the best, as they are the most durable and reusable. The downside to bunion pads is that they can slip and slide around inside the shoes, and they really do nothing to re-position the big toe into a more natural alignment. Bunion pads are most helpful for mild to moderately sized bunions.

2. Bunion Splints

Bunion splints are devices worn, typically at night, that pushes the big toe back into normal alignment. The big toe goes into a brace, with binding around the arch of the foot, to stretch the tendon and toe muscles and pull the big toe away from the second toe. Some splints are more rigid than others. The downside of splints for bunions is that they may cause additional pain and discomfort, though they may slow bunion progression over the long term.

3. Bunion Spacers

Bunion spacers go between the big and second toe to relieve soft tissue pressure as the bunion forms. Gel spacers with loops work best for deviated big toes in the early stages of bunion formation before the big toe is too fixed in an unnatural position. Some fit inside the shoes, while others are meant to be worn at night or around the house. On the downside, spacers can be cumbersome to wear in shoes all day long and many people find them uncomfortable as a long-term solution.

When To See A Podiatrist

It doesn’t hurt to get a professional opinion on bunion correction. Bunion surgery is a personal decision based on the amount of pain, physical limitation, footwear limitation, and tolerance of appearance. We focus on modern techniques that get you moving sooner rather than later. For many patients, a good option is HyProCure®—a titanium stent that goes in the space between the ankle bone and heel bone to correct overpronation. When the foot rolls inward, bone growth and bump formation increases. If you are not a candidate for HyProCure®, then minimally invasive bunion surgery is another option we offer.

We often advise people to act swiftly if the bunion is causing physical pain that limits day-to-day activities. If buying shoes with a wider toe-box or a larger size is not a feasible option, surgery may be a practical option. Attending to a smaller bunion is much easier than correcting a large bunion. Generally, you can be immediately bearing weight in a surgical shoe right away until the bone mends at six weeks. Larger bunions may require casting and crutches for six weeks.

Harvard Health reports that up to 16% of bunions may recur after surgical correction, though there are many ways to predict and limit recurrence nowadays. Contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine to learn about bunion treatment options for your particular situation. We are fully equipped in our Manhattan and White Plains offices to take you through diagnosis and treatment through surgery and rehabilitation if necessary.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.