This past Sunday, football fans everywhere marveled when a blizzard caused the roof of the Metrodome, home of the Minnesota Vikings, to collapse.  It was the fourth time in the stadium's 28 year history that the roof collapsed.  As I was searching for the video on YouTube to show a friend of mine, I came across an article that compared the roof to a bunion pad.

An interesting comparison, don't you think?  At first glance, you'd think they were made of similar materials.  I learned that the roof was made of a fiberglass cloth that's 1/16" in thickness.  Surprisingly a bunion pad is thicker than that!

What the article was referring to was both an air supported, inflatable roof and a bunion pad are cheap and unsophisticated methods of treating a complex problem.  Let's face's really snows really need a proper dome on your stadium!

Similarly, using a bunion pad to control the pain associated with a hallux valgus deformity is the easy way out.  It is simply addressing the pressure on the bump on the side of the foot against the shoe.  Nothing more.  It doesn't address the function of the foot that caused the bunion to form in the first place and will cause it to continue to grow.  It does not address the rotation of the metatarsal bone that is causing the bump to form.  It's merely helping to cushion the bone today, to allow you to wear shoes today, hoping that it will feel better tomorrow, but it won't.

Treating the bunion requires, at the very least, good mechanical control to return stability and efficiency to the foot.  This will stop the foot from deforming further and prevent the bunion from getting bigger.  If a bunion is already painful in shoes, then surgery to correct the bunion may be the best option.  It's better to address that sooner than later since the complexity of the procedure and recovery will change depending on how bad the bunion is. 

It's not worth wasting time on a bandaid solution.  In Minnesota, they'll patch the flimsy roof and reinflate it.  But when it comes time to treat your painful bunion, take a smarter approach.  If you haven't seen the collapse of the roof yet, watch it here!

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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