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What is a Bunion Night Splint?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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A bunion night splint is a device which fits over the foot and is used to ease pain related to bunions as well as to correct the bone structure of the foot. Generally it is to be worn overnight for as long as symptoms persist or until further treatment is advised. The use of a bunion night splint is typically more effective in children and adolescents than in adults because their bones are more malleable and more easily molded. Splints may offer some level of success in treating bunions in adults, although they are more for pain management than for bone correction at this age group.

The term bunion refers to a bone malformation in the foot. Bunions are characterized by large protrusions from the side of the foot to the side of the big toe. The toe itself is often misaligned and if the bunion becomes prominent enough, toes may begin to overlap. In some cases the protruding area may be filled with fluid. Those with bunions often report redness and swelling in the area, as well as trouble fitting some shoes without pain.

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Other than surgery, a bunion night splint is often the best therapy for treating bunions and the pain associated with them. They do not generally fully correct the positioning of the bones affected by the bunion, but they do offer support for the area and in some cases may realign the bones to some extent. Splints can be purchased online, through some specialty pharmacies, and by talking to a trained physician for recommendations to other retailers and medical supply chains.

Before using a night splint the foot or feet should be cleaned thoroughly. This keeps the splint clean as well as allowing it to more grip the area more firmly. There is often a cushion which supports the big toe, and it slides between the big toe and the one next to it. Leather straps combined with elastic ones allow users to adjust the pressure being put on the big toe. Straps should be tightened until pain and pressure are relieved. This is usually a sign that the toes are better aligned.

The bunion night splint should be removed in the morning and cleaned with a wet rag if needed. When used as directed, the splint should offer some relief from pain during the day. In some people the bunion will slowly correct itself, but this is generally not possible in severe cases. If pain and pressure persist or grow worse, the advise of a medical professional should be sought for further treatment options. Surgery is typically the primary solution for large bunions.

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