Good shoes can ease bunion pain

No need to go without nice shoes.

Shoe insoles with metatarsal pads to support splayfeet, a corrective splint at night and surgical treatment of the deformed toe at some stage – that is what the treatment of many hallux valgus patients used to look like. People tormented with bunions can now try something new – the company Bunion Aid™ with its bandage of the same name offers a patented aid that attempts to combine the corrective function of a rigid night splint with the supportive function of an insole for the metatarsal arch. What is new is that the bandage can even be worn during loading, that is, while walking. The fact that the Bunion Aid™ can be worn in almost any shoe is the convincing argument for Marion Stolbinger of Bunion Aid™ GmbH’s management: At fairs I have amazed so many visitors by slipping off my court shoes and suddenly the Bunion Aid™ bandage on my foot appeared.

How it functions
But how does this ”easily fitting wonder function and how does it differ from the aids available up to now? A splint that is kept in place by a toe and metatarsal bandage is designed to correct the toe deformity of mild to moderate hallux valgus without contracture. In contrast to conventional corrective night splints, the Bunion Aid™ also has a joint at the level of the bunion that enables walking in the bandage and is intended to support the foot when it rolls off naturally. And since hallux valgus is usually associated with splayfoot, which causes problems on walking and running, a pad is secured with hook & loop to the underside of the Bunion Aid™ metatarsal bandage, which supports the heads of the metarsals during movement, which are strained by the splayfoot.
The aid is intended for preventive use in order to prevent progression of the hallux valgus deformity but can also be used postoperatively to stabilise the correction.

Expert advice
The Bunion Aid™ is basically designed to be fitted and adjusted by the patient him- or herself. Nevertheless, expert advice can be appropriate in a few cases. It is important for the pad to be in the right place. Anyone who is unsure about this can obtain assistance on fitting from an expert, for instance, an orthopaedic shoe fitter, says Axel Krauss, who helped to develop the Bunion Aid™ bandage. Afterwards, the customer can simply open the metatarsal bandage by the upper hook & loop fastener and the pad will stay securely in place.
Apart from help with adjustment, it is always advisable for patients with an advanced hallux valgus deformity to have an expert look at the foot. The Bunion Aid™ is not suitable for severe, contracted hallux valgus deformities”, says Krauss. The bandage is also contraindicated in certain disease conditions such as diabetes mellitus, disorders of lymphatic drainage or disorders of sensation and circulation in the feet.

Early prevention
Since the initial marketing in Germany in the spring of this year, the experience of the Bunion Aid™ team has been that its product is popular not only with the target group of the over-50s with hallux valgus pain. Many younger women with a slight deformity also come to us because they know from their mothers and grandmothers the pain that bunions” can cause at a later age, explains Marion Stolbinger. The young women want to take preventive action in good time while their problem is still purely cosmetic in nature. I always advise them to wear the splint regularly at night and perhaps for one or two hours during the day, says the expert. We have already had cases where mothers recommended the Bunion Aid™ to their daughters so that they will be spared problems and pain in old age, reports Marion Stolbinger on the cross-generation acceptance of the bandage.

Experience in the orthopaedic shoe business
Master orthopaedic shoe fitter Sebastian Wartner is managing director of the Shoe Forum in Markt Schwabenand became aware of the Bunion Aid™ through an advertisement in trade journals. Since April, he has been successfully offering the aid to his customers. It is obvious that the customers are happy that ’at last there is something’ as an alternative to the rigid night splint, which many people say breaks easily and is uncomfortable to wear, says Wartner. His impression is that there has been real word of mouthpropaganda as many patients tell their friends about their happy experiences with the Bunion Aid™ and recommend it. But it is not only patients who are convinced by the effect of the Bunion Aid™ splint. Many doctors in Wartners area would also recommend the Bunion Aid™ for postoperative care. The doctors greatly value the fact that the corrected metatarsophalangeal joint can move freely because of the free joint of the Bunion Aid™ splint so that no incorrect levers and pressures can act on the recently operated joint. Fixing the recently operated joint in a rigid position is not desirable but rather promotion of natural movement. The patient’s pain perception will regulate the radius of movement of the toe on its own,Wartner believes.
Customers interested in the Bunion Aid™ are advised by trained sales assistants in the Shoe Forum. Consultation with an orthopaedic shoe fitter is not absolutely necessary”, says Sebastian Wartner. The initial explanation by the sales assistant is adequate and the customer can then use it without problem.
And what shoes does Wartner see as compatible with the Bunion Aid™? We recommend shoes that are open in the mid-foot region or that can be opened widely far forward to provide enough room in the mid-foot area. The region of the bunion is of lesser importance as the foot is fixed extremely well by the metatarsal bandage and hardly splays at all on loading. We regard as unsuitable shoes that are closed in the mid-foot region or that are not adjustable, for instance by means of elastic. Transverse seams in the bunion region should also be checked for.

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