D.I.Y. splinting for beginning bunions
I am new to all this -- twinges and pressure pain only started two weeks ago.
I have been using masking tape (with a bit of slack in it) to tape kleenex, toilet paper, or "cotton squares" (a 2 x 2 inch make-up removal square) between my big toe and second toe. Overnight, that takes very little tape.
During the day, I tape from the sole of my foot over the pad and onto the top of my foot (like a thong would run, but not tight! Just so the pad stays in place). The tape has to be long enough so that it goes at least an inch farther back than the joint. Then I tape loosely a couple of times around my foot, back behind the painful joint, trapping the ends of the "front to back" tape. Then socks, then my Birkenstocks (the only shoes I have worn for years). At night, sometimes I instead tape the pad directly but VERY loosely to the big toe and second toe. It has to be very loose so as to not pull the toes back together / back to the center, defeating the purpose of the pad.
At this early stage in the progression, that padding is enough to eliminate twinges in the joint as I walk, and it positions my feet better in the shoes without adding bulk and pain at the joint itself. I feel the twinges again within 15 minutes if I remove the pads.
After starting this, I remembered that when I was a kid, I used to be puzzled by an "older lady" in the neighborhood who always used to have cotton balls taped between her toes. So this is probably a solution that has been rediscovered many times. I figure it will cost me about $20 in supplies per year to do this. I'm not sure how my skin will hold up to the non-medical tape, but so far, it's OK so long as I change the tape location, and don't let the tape get wet.
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