Bunion taping: many have never tried it, but lately we haven’t been able to escape articles on it. We usually see these how-to articles pinned to athletic websites such as Livestrong.com or listed on sports injury clinic websites. After all, who else but athletes would take the time to learn the technique and tightly wrap their feet? Most of us don’t have time to do that before we head off to work, which begs the question: is there an alternative option?
After doing our own research on the topic, here’s what we’ve learned, broken down into usable chunks of information. (Of course, anyone attempting this should consult with their doctor, especially if they have moderate to severe bunions.)
Why bunion taping?
Taping bunions can reduce the bunion pain and stress brought on during the day by most shoes, standing and walking. Taping is often used to provide support, stability or rehabilitation to athletes suffering from bunion pain including runners, dancers, bikers and skiers. It can also provide protection against the friction often caused by non-bunion-friendly footwear. The padding in those shoes often doesn’t give bunion nubs the space or protection they need (i.e. in ski boots, spin shoes and soccer cleats). There are a few different taping strategies you could try out – let us know which one works best! (You can even Google “Bunion Taping Techniques” and watch the YouTube videos for demonstrations and additional details.)
Pros of taping:
- When you tape your bunions, you are protecting them from the unavoidable scuffing and rubbing from your shoes which could eventually lead to blisters, redness, tenderness and often inflamed bunions. Should bursitis set in around the bunion, it takes even longer to heal and requires a more consistent treatment. Taping is a great option to manage that swelling and irritation.
- Taping bunions can also provide the desired padding inside more rigid footwear, often used in sports such as dancing, skiing, soccer and spinning/biking. There’s nothing worse than bone-on-plastic, which is exactly what you get when you put on those shoes and head out to enjoy your active lifestyle without any additional level of protection. In the case of soccer, for example, you not only deal with the bone-on-plastic issue but also expose your poor nubs to the repeated pounding of a ball.
Cons of taping:
- Most of us don’t have the time in the morning as we are getting ready for work even to find the tape, let alone to go through the process of taping our feet (not to mention testing and trying out the various techniques to find the one most suitable for our foot).
- Your feet swell during the day – it’s just a fact. Whether you are a professional athlete or sell insurance from a desk all day, your feet will swell. This can be quite the nuisance if the taping ends up being too tight, or if the space in your shoes doesn’t allow for both the swelling and the tape. Your bunions might be pain-free, but low and behold it’s actually because half your foot has lost its circulation.
The bottom line:
Taping is great, and it definitely serves a purpose for those who wear extremely rigid footwear, anticipate taking a hit on the bunion (think soccer!) or are healing from the dreaded bunion surgery. But for the majority of us, something as simple as Bunion Bootie can meet the needs of most bunion sufferers: It protects from friction, may improve gait and balance issues by straightening the big toe and is quick and easy to put on each morning.
However, the padding isn’t much (which is what allows it to fit so easily in any shoe), so if you’re heading to the soccer field, take the tape!