I'm not an podiatrist, so I can only speak for myself. And frankly, I don't think my custom made orthopedic insoles have done much for my bunions. Well, maybe they prevented them from getting worse, but that's about it. They felt quite comfortable though, so I kept wearing them.
But once that it was my goal to reduce the size of my bunions – and preferably get rid of them completely – I started looking for an alternative. While doing research on orthopedic insoles one day, I stumbled across posture control insoles. And this is what I learned about them.
Your bunions can be partly due to your foot structure. The middle part of your foot consists of long bones, leading to the toes. These bones are called metatarsal bones. The first metatarsal bone is the one that leads up to your big toe, and the second metatarsal to your second toe.
If your first metatarsal bone is shorter than the second one, you have a condition called Morton's foot. (You can recognize this condition sometimes by a second toe that is a bit longer than the big toe, though this isn't always the case). It is said that between 50-60% of the population have Morton's feet, so we're not alone!
People with Morton's feet often roll their ankles in when they walk. This puts added pressure on the joint between your big toe and your first metatarsal bone and can easily lead to a bunion.
But that's not all. If you have Morton's feet, you're likely to have Rothbart's feet as well. Rothbart's feet means that your first metatarsal bone (the bone leading up to your big toe) not only is quite short, but also elevated (compared with the metatarsal bones leading up to the other toes).
You can easily check this out for yourself: when you're sitting on a chair with your ankles straight (not rolled inwards or outwards) and your feet on the ground (without any pressure), your big toes don't lay flat on the ground.
When you get up and start walking though, you'll have to put pressure on your big toes (and the area directly behind them) – because walking is done by pushing your big toes back against the ground. The only way you can do this (making ground contact with your big toes), is by rolling in your ankles. Again, this puts added pressure on your big toe joints.
For a long time, I thought I had Morton's feet as well, but now I know that my big toe only seems shorter than the second one because the base is turning outward so much. If the two toes are nicely aligned, my big toe is longer. But I did order and use posture control insoles for quite a few years, until I switched back to custom made insoles again.
As suggested by the company selling posture control insoles, I first examined the soles of my walking boots. I had walked a lot on them, so they must be able to tell me which parts of my feet where the most under pressure – those parts would show the heaviest wear.
Well, that was easy: these parts were without any doubt the outside edges of my heel and the inner parts of my forefoot. I figured out I probably am a supinator: trying to walk on the outside of my feet to prevent my ankles from rolling inwards.
To make a long story short, I soon was totally convinced and willing to give it a try. Immediately after I received the insoles, I noticed that they were not like the orthopedic insoles I was used to.
Posture control insoles are a lot thinner than the orthopedic insoles I used to wear and they only have a small wedge underneath the big toe area. This wedge is meant to give your big toes the impression that they touch the ground a bit earlier than they actually do. That way, you are stimulated to make the correct movement with your feet instead of rolling your ankles in.
Posture control insoles come in two different kinds – one with a 3.5mm wedge and one with a 6mm wedge. As I'm living in Europe, I decided to order both pairs (the so called perfect fit option). That way I could decide for myself which ones suited me best.
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Posture control insoles for my bunions?
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