The Role of Night Splints in Treating Bunions


The effective treatment of bunions requires both time and patience, and there are often several steps and methods that need to be used in order to produce a satisfactory response. The use of night splits in treating bunions is often highly effective, as the splint is worn next to the skin and is used to straighten the ligament of the big toe and realign it into proper position.

Aside from stretching the muscles and tendons of the toe and forefoot the realignment of the mechanics of the foot will also likely reduce the pain and discomfort typically associated with bunion development, as this type of stretching relieves chronic pressure points and may help to reduce inflammation as well.

Night splints are most effective when introduced early on; like most gradual onset foot deformities involving ligaments and bone prevention is much easier than treating a condition after it has become acute. Splints are typically worn at night as they difficult to walk in and to use with shoes, but overnight usage also allows the splint to be worn for extended periods of time, which may be a factor in their effectiveness. While there are hybrid units available that allow for both night time and daytime use this type of device usually requires a wider fitting shoe if they are to be worn outside of the house.

As suggested earlier, night splints play one role in the overall treatment of bunions, and the use of other types of orthotic devices may be productive during typical daytime activities and while walking or standing for prolonged periods of time. There is no one ‘cure-all’ for bunions or bunion development but if treated early enough it appears that night splints can in fact play an important role in halting the progression of bunion development over time, particularly when used in tandem with other conservative treatments and lifestyle changes.

One of the most important considerations in the treatment and care of bunions is the prevention of deterioration that may lead to mandatory surgical intervention should the affliction become severe enough. While some patients may find the use of a night splint to be less than optimal it should be noted that surgical intervention is not always effective and comes with its own inconveniences and risks.

Fortunately, most night splints are now designed to be both adjustable and comfortable and are created with pressure-point padding and cushioned straps. Like most orthotic devices night splints should be properly worn and adjusted for maximum benefit and wear-ability.  Many patients will require input from a doctor or specialist when choosing an appropriate night splint and as much information as necessary should be provided.

It should be stressed to the patient that night splints are an effective part of an overall treatment plan but they are not a cure and should not be relied upon exclusively. The treatment of bunions is a long-term process that does not guarantee results, however, early intervention and consistent use of conservative treatments, including the use of orthotic devices, is an effective way to slow the progression of this debilitating condition.

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