Bunions 3 min read

How to treat a bunion?

How to treat a bunion? How to treat a bunion? How to treat a bunion?

Bunions are bony bumps on the side of your foot, just at the joint where your big toe is attached to your foot.

Prevention is key!

If you are prone to developing bunions because they run in your family or because you have an inflammatory condition or foot deformities, the best way to avoid getting bunions is to wear comfortable footwear. You should avoid shoes with high heels, pointy tips or shoes that are too narrow. Instead choose wide, comfortable shoes with a low heel, a soft sole and adequate room for your toes. Let a shop assistant guide you in the choice of your shoes and size. Maintaining a normal bodyweight is also an important factor.

What if I already have a bunion? - Bunion Treatment

Bunions can only be removed by surgery, but nevertheless, surgery is rarely necessary. Their progression and the symptoms can usually easily be managed and treated conservatively and even at home.

When should I seek medical advice?

You should always see your doctor if you have diabetes since your foot problems might have a different cause.

If the pain is persistent or so strong that it affects your daily activities, you should see a doctor. You should also seek medical advice if the condition doesn’t improve after a couple of weeks of home treatment or if the condition worsens. Your doctor will advise you regarding the best options for you to manage your bunions. Depending on the severity, your doctor might recommend orthotics or refer you to a surgeon in order to discuss the option of surgically removing your bunion and correcting the underlying condition.

How can I ease bunion pain & symptoms?

Treatment options for bunions vary depending on how painful and severe it is. In addition to medical aid, there are some DIY methods you can try to ease your bunion pain. These include making sure your shoes are comfortable and roomy enough to accommodate your toes: avoid tight, narrow shoes which can make the discomfort worse and, where possible, stay away from high heels and hard soles.

What causes bunions?

Bunions are visible bumps on the side of the big toe. The big toe consists of two joints, and the largest of the two is the meta-tarsophalangeal joint (MTP). Bunions can form when the bones that make up the MTP joint get out of alignment, the phalanx bones of the big toe start pointing towards the second toe and the MTP joint gets larger and starts protruding. This can often lead to inflammation and swelling, which in turn leads to difficulty walking over time.

Bunions are often caused by an inherited faulty structure of the foot. Bunions themselves are not inherited, but certain foot types are more likely to develop them. Having an inflammatory condition like rheumatoid arthritis may also cause bunions. Narrow shoes which lead to toe crowding don’t cause bunions, but they can speed up the process and make the symptoms worse.

Pressure on the big toe due to uneven weight distribution can also cause the big toe to point towards the second toe. Bunions are progressive, and usually develop slowly over time. The bigger they get, the more painful they can become. Pressure from the big toe may eventually push the second toe out of alignment and cause issues with the smaller toes as well.

Can bunions be treated without surgery?

In most cases, bunions can be managed without surgery. Whilst you cannot reverse the bunion without going under the knife, you can use non-surgical methods to reduce pain and keep the bunion from getting worse. Ways to treat bunions without surgery include changing your footwear to well-fitting, wide or open-toed shoes. Your doctor can recommend shoes which would work for your specific feet.

Silicon pads, which are worn inside the shoe, can cushion the bunion and prevent further inflammation – although make sure to test it out for short periods of time, as using the wrong pad for your condition can sometimes make it worse. You may also benefit from shoe inserts, toe spacers and splints.

What options do I have over the counter?

There are various over-the-counter options for bunions. It’s important to keep in mind that these options can provide pain relief, but they will not reverse the bunion or prevent it from getting worse. If you are concerned about your bunion and would like it corrected, please speak to your doctor.