How Custom Orthotics Help with Bunions and Calluses

5 min read

Bunions and calluses on the feet are common problems, but they can seriously affect your quality of life, making walking uncomfortable and restricting your mobility.

Despite being such a common problem, many people live on with the pain and discomfort of foot problems, without realising that there are simple measures you can take to reduce pain and limit further complications.

If you are concerned about your foot health, visit us at Foot Solutions today. From everyday foot pain to dealing with foot deformity, our team of foot experts can give you advice and tips for looking after your feet.

Simply by popping in to your friendly high street foot specialists, you could revolutionize your health from the ground up.

What is a bunion?

A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a bony protrusion or bump that forms at your big toe joint, also known as your metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, where your big toe and foot meet.

Bunions lead to redness or swollen skin around the toe joint. There will be bunion pain, general foot pain, limited movement of the big toe, and potentially corns and calluses where the first and second toes are forced to overlap.

Bunions develop slowly, but increase in pain and severity, and can lead to difficulty walking.

Do I have a bunion?

If your big toe seems to have moved inward, you have a bony bump or a visible bump on your big toe joint, or you are experiencing pain and bone pressure around the base of the big toe, you may develop bunions.

What is a callus?

A callus is caused by pressure or rubbing at a point on the foot.

A corn is a specific type of callus, an inwardly-directed callus of dead skin that forms at a pressure-point near a bone, or on a weight-bearing part of the body.

Symptoms of calluses include:

  • A raised or hardened bump on the skin

  • An area of thickened skin or hardened skin

  • Pain under the skin

  • Dry skin

  • Flaky skin

  • A rough patch of skin

What causes corns and calluses?

Calluses form when there is pressure and repeated friction on an area of the skin. Risk factors for developing them include:

  • Wearing poorly fitting shoes

  • Wearing high heels

  • Weight gain that creates extra pressure on the feet

  • Foot problems such as hammertoe

  • Having bunions

What causes bunions?

Bunions can be the root cause of corns and calluses. So what leads to bunions in the first place?

  • Genetic predisposition – bunions can be an inherited condition

  • Foot injury

  • Having hypermobile feet

  • Having flat feet

  • Rheumatoid arthritis can increase the risk of bunions developing

However, there are other risk factors which could lead someone with perfectly healthy feet to still develop bunions. These include:

  • Wearing narrow shoes that are too tight

  • Wearing shoes that do not fit properly

  • Wearing high heels

  • Putting the feet under any extra stress

What treatments are there for bunions?

Surgery is the only way to get rid of a bunion, and most foot experts would be reluctant to commit to surgery in all but the most extreme cases.

The best way to deal with a bunion is to limit its development.

How can I limit bunion development?

There are various strategies you can adopt to try and slow the growth of a bunion.

It is important to wear shoes that fit well and allow all of your toes to lie in the correct position. Choose shoes that have a wide toe box, and will not put extra pressure on your bunions.

Avoid shoes that cause pain or make your toes rub, and don’t wear high heels.

Prioritise your foot health. Keep toenails trimmed, feet clean and dry, and treat corns and calluses as soon as you can.

How can I treat corns and calluses?

If your bunions have led to the development of corns and calluses, you can treat them quite simply at home.

Use a pumice stone to gently sand away the rough skin; or treat with a medicated patch containing salicylic acid.

Soaking the area in warm water can soften skin, while using a good moisturiser can be very effective at keeping skin soft.

But perhaps the best nonsurgical treatment for bunions, and for the corns and calluses which can result from bunions, are custom orthotics.

What is a custom orthotic?

Custom orthotics are custom made shoe inserts. These individually tailored shoe inserts are designed to redistribute weight and pressure more evenly, thereby improving your balance and alignment. This in turn reduces the risk of bunions developing or progressing.

Custom orthotics are perhaps the most effective of nonsurgical treatments for bunions, corns and calluses. By taking pressure away from the painful area, they may make it possible for you to avoid bunion surgery while reducing your pain and restoring foot function.

Custom orthotics make standing, walking, and running more comfortable and efficient by altering the angle at which the foot strikes the ground. They act as shock absorbers, improve balance, and remove pressure from areas sensitized by the presence of a bunion.

Types of foot orthotics

There are several broad categories of foot orthotics.

Functional foot orthotics

Functional orthotics are designed to keep the foot, ankle and even the calf in a neutral position. They are therefore made from stiffer materials such as carbon fibre, used to control movements and restrict abnormal positioning.

Semi-rigid foot orthotics

Semi-rigid orthotics are most often used to aid participation in fast-paced physical activities such as sports. Once again, they feature stiffer materials, often composed of hardened layers, to give greater resilience to the vulnerable area.

Accommodative foot orthotics

Accommodative foot orthotics are the type of orthotic most likely to be prescribed for the treatment of bunions. They are typically softer, aiming to give greater cushioning and support to the big toe area. As well as being effective for limiting the progression of bunions, they can also be proscribed for calluses, corns, and other sources of big toe, foot, ankle, and heel pain.

Are you suffering from bunion pain, or corns and calluses?

If you are having problems with your feet, come to Foot Solutions today. Our friendly team of foot specialists will be able to assess your foot health, and help you find the answers you need to regain your mobility and fitness. From big toe spacers to bunion pads, Foot Solutions is a one-stop-shop for all your foot health needs.

Give your health a boost from the ground up – visit Foot Solutions.