Bunions 3 min read

How to effectively ease bunion symptoms without surgery

How to effectively ease bunion symptoms without surgery How to effectively ease bunion symptoms without surgery How to effectively ease bunion symptoms without surgery

Bunions can be a real pain – both literally and metaphorically. They are bony lumps sticking out from the bottom of your big toe caused by the misalignment of bones, tendons and tissues. This causes the big toe to bend towards the other toes on the foot.

Over years of motion and pressure, this abnormal alignment creates an often-painful bunion on the joint. And because this is the part of your foot that carries so much weight and is important for balance, bunions can become a real problem, to the extent that you can dread putting shoes on or even find walking painful.

What to do about bunions?

The bad news is that bunions are a permanent problem. Unless your toe joint miraculously realigns itself, this physiological issue is not going away on its own. However, the good news is that you can do plenty about them. The ultimate solution for bunions is to have them removed during surgery.

While this is a definite answer, and one for whom people suffering from the pain of bunions might think is necessary, surgery is not always the best option. In fact, if you can avoid it, it’s always best to try alternative treatments before resorting to surgery.

We’re not suggesting that bunion surgery is unnecessary or particularly dangerous. In fact, it’s a relatively straightforward procedure. But surgery always carries some risks, and it may be possible to make just a few changes to your lifestyle or treatment options and manage your bunions without any further pain or discomfort. Here’s what you need to try.

Prevention instead of prescription: How to avoid bunion pain

The first port of call is always to try and alleviate the pain of bunions by preventative measures. These include:

● Try and maintain a healthy weight to avoid placing excess pressure on your bunions. This is also good general health advice.
● Protect the bunion with a moleskin or gel-filled pad to prevent aggravation and offer cushioning.
● Use shoe inserts to ensure the correct positioning of the foot inside the shoe. These are known as orthotics.
● Use warm soaks and ice packs to try and relieve the pain and aggravation caused by walking or wearing shoes.
● Ensure you buy well-fitting shoes with plenty of room in the toe area and wear appropriate socks.
● Stay active even if your bunions are painful; this is the best way to ensure your feet are strong and healthy.
● But don’t overdo it, and always make sure you rest your feet when they need it.

Other tips for bunion pain-relief include:

● Natural anti-inflammatories such as spirulina and ginger
● Foot massage and exercise
● Wearing thin, loose socks
● Padded shoes
● Toe spacers
● Elevate feet when lying down

Hopefully, making these few lifestyle changes and taking a small amount of care over your feet will alleviate many of your bunion symptoms. However, if you try all the above without effect, it might be time to try some other bunion non-surgery treatments.

Non-surgical bunion treatments

There are several bunion non-surgery treatments that you can try to help reduce bunion symptoms and alleviate pain. These generally fall into two main categories: those you can buy over the counter at the pharmacy and those you will need a doctor or podiatrist to prescribe. Let’s look at the over-the-counter treatments first.

Over-the-counter bunion treatments:

Pain-relieving medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can be used when you have flare-ups and to alleviate short-term pain. These can be bought over the counter or in the supermarket. However, you must always follow dosage instructions, and painkillers are not a long-term solution. If bunion symptoms persist or the pain does not diminish, you may need to see a doctor. There are also non-steroidal creams available that you can apply to the affected area that might work.

Healthcare professional required treatment:

If you see a doctor or podiatrist, they may recommend using a splint at night to keep the toe straight. This can help to prevent the bunion from worsening. The same goes for toe spacers and other orthotic remedies. If the pain is more severe, doctors may also be able to prescribe some more powerful pain medication.

With a combination of preventative measures such as taking better care of your feet, exercises, padding and inserts, as well as input and advice from your doctor, it may be possible to avoid surgery altogether. Many people see noticeable improvements in their bunions or live virtually pain–free once they have made suitable adjustments. However, surgery may be necessary if you have tried all the above and are still suffering pain or the bunion symptoms are worsening.

When is bunion surgery necessary?

If the pain from bunions is getting increasingly worse, affecting your mobility or adversely affecting your life, surgery might be the best option. As mentioned above, it is usually preferable to avoid surgery, but this is not always possible. Bunion surgery can be carried out on mild and severe cases and has a very high success rate. Surgery aims to relieve pain and realign the position of the big toe. The surgeon will put all bones, tendons and ligaments back in the correct place and remove the lump. There are more than 100 procedures available, but in general, doctors carry out just a few common types of bunion surgery.

If you think you have bunions or are suffering from pain in your feet, it’s always recommended to see your doctor. In addition, you can try COMPEED® bunion plasters which will offer you some relief from the pain and discomfort they can cause and stop the skin from hardening any further.