5 Nonsurgical Ways To Alleviate Bunion Pain

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Unless you live your life on the couch, you need to spend some time on your feet each day. And if a bunion has formed, you may start to experience persistent or intermittent foot pain. Wearing shoes may be uncomfortable due to a protrusion or callous.

You don’t have to let a bunion interfere with your daily life. By seeking help from a podiatrist when the problem starts, you can prevent serious pain and problems with the bones in your foot.

Our highly skilled podiatry team has many options to address early bunion concerns without surgery. We can make several recommendations to alleviate bunion pain and prevent complications.

Why you should seek treatment for bunions

Bunions are bony protrusions that form at the base of your big toe, on the side of your foot, when the big toe starts to push into the toe next to it. They frequently develop because of tight shoes, stress on your foot, or conditions such as arthritis.

A slight bulge and soreness may not seem like major issues, but more serious problems such as bursitis or hammertoe can develop if the misaligned toe joint is left untreated. It’s best to see a podiatrist if your bunion is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent pain
  • A visible protrusion of the big toe joint on the side of your foot
  • Reduced movement in the big toe
  • Difficulty finding well-fitting shoes

Severe bunions may require surgery to correct the deformity, but surgery is a last resort. We recommend first trying nonsurgical treatments to alleviate your bunion pain, including the following:

1. Maximizing the comfort of your shoes

Tight shoes, especially high heels, can put pressure on your big toe and make it bend toward the toe next to it, causing a bunion when the joint becomes misaligned. Continuing to wear these sorts of shoes after a bunion forms can make it worse.

To minimize discomfort and prevent your bunion from worsening, it’s important to wear shoes that are comfortable and provide plenty of space for your toes. Additionally, non-medicated bunion pads can help minimize the pain caused by the rubbing of the bone protrusion against the inside of your shoes.

2. Applying ice

Often bunions feel worse after a long day of walking or being on your feet. Even after you remove your shoes, you may find that the joint of your big toe or the surrounding area of your foot is red and painful. Applying ice to your foot helps decrease both the soreness and inflammation. It won’t make your bunion go away, but it can provide welcome relief.

3. Supporting the bone structures of your toe

Some of the pain and discomfort from bunions results from instability as the joint of the big toe moves more out of place over time. Helping to stabilize and support the joint and bones of your foot can prevent symptoms from worsening.

You can try using a spacer between your big toe and adjacent toe to hold your joint straighter. One of our podiatrists can also tape your toe so it is in a more aligned and comfortable position. Padding or splinting also helps realign your toes.

4. Using medications

Joint deformities like bunions can cause inflammation and pain. Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can help control the swelling and discomfort associated with bunions. We can also prescribe a cortisone injection to reduce the inflammation and manage your discomfort.

5. Getting customized orthotics

We not only recommend the best combination of the above treatment options, but also prescribe custom orthotics. These shoe inserts help to evenly distribute pressure on your foot while you walk to reduce your discomfort. They can also help prevent the joint deformity from worsening.

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