Since bunions are relatively common, everyone and their mother has a theory on how to fix them passed down from their great, great aunt’s cousin’s stepdaughter. Luckily, with a bit of research, you can dispel most of these wives’ tales with relative ease. There are some homeopathic methods that are effective as anti-inflammatory and pain relief agents, but there unfortunately no direct cure for bunions, as it is a progressive, hereditary bone disorder; and, until the day medication can alter bone alignment, we’re stuck with more applicable, hands-on options. Here are the tried, tested treatments that can work for you:
Change in Footwear
Changing your shoes is one of the fastest ways to provide your bunions with some relief. Shoes that are slightly too small, shoes that are too tight around the toes, pointed-toe shoes (brogues, several kinds of flats, wingtips, some boots) and high heels can restrict your toes and cause bunions to get much worse. Since bunions are caused the outside toe falling in and out of alignment, squeezing that toe even further in is going to progress the bunion much quicker and leave you in pain. Look for shoes with plenty of toe room (maybe consider looking into wide sizes if you normally wear standard-width) and cushion to provide immediate relief to the affected foot.
If you find yourself standing or walking for long periods of time, you may have to make other arrangements to relieve your bunion pain. If you’re standing for long periods of time, try to remember to take a seat and rest for a few minutes every hour. If you have a long walk, consider taking the bus or riding a bike to lessen the impact on your feet so that your bunions aren’t irritated. Anything you can do to lessen the amount of times the foot that has a bunion hits the floor or supports your weight, the better off you will be.
Although bunions can’t be fixed with medication, you can definitely find some alleviation from the symptoms with over-the-counter drugs. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can be helpful in taking down some of the swelling in your foot caused by the bunion. Taking down swelling is extremely important for bunions because irritation against shoes is one of the quickest ways to make bunions worse. The less a bunion rubs against your shoe, the less irritated it will become and the less pain you’ll be in as a result. The other type of medication suitable for bunions is painkillers. If you are experiencing extreme pain from your bunions, pain relief medicine can help you get through your day with decreased discomfort.
Ice has been a tried and true treatment of inflammation for a long time, and that’s because it works. Icing your bunion a few times a day (1 minute on, 1 minute off) can be extremely beneficial and effective in keeping the swelling of your bunion down to a more manageable and comfortable size. Just make sure to follow the 1 minute on, 1 minute off rule so that the affected area retains proper blood circulation.
A disorder that often accompanies bunions is called bursitis, which is swelling of the padding in between your joints (bursa), in this instance it would be the joint in your feet connected to the toe that’s turning out or the toe next to it. Bursitis can be extremely painful and can cause even more swelling than the bunions have caused in the first place; but, these swollen bursae can be treated with corticosteroid injections to ease swelling and help restore the bursa to their natural state.
When you break an arm, the doctor puts a cast on it – why? Two reasons: first, to put the bones in the correct alignment so that they can heal correctly and secondly, to protect the injury from outside impacts or other forces.
This same logic applies to almost any bone injury or condition, including bunions. Padding provides relief by placing a barrier in between the afflicted area and any outside materials, like your shoes.
This padding will provide a buffer zone and dramatically reduce irritation, and thus slow the progression of the bunion and provide relief to pain and inflammation. Orthotic devices, on the other hand, do this and a bit more.
Orthotic devices employ either their own structure or some kind of strap/wrapping system to help place your toes in proper alignment and treat the bunion on a skeletal (the most effective) level.
There are several products on the market falling in the genre of bunion padding and orthotics, but which ones work best?
Our recommendation is to try a few and see what works for you. The products are generally inexpensive so trying them can be a great investment in your pain relief.
We even make a Bunion Relief Pack which bundles together some of our more popular bunion products - it's available at a great price currently so well worth a look!