Bunions can be unbearable if persistent, and it’s almost impossible to wear shoes because of the protrusion. Walking can also be uncomfortable, and if your daily life involves frequent movement of your feet, bunion pain can make it miserable.
But you can avoid this excruciating pain if you do something drastic to fix the problem as soon as you feel pain around your big toe joint.
You can start by talking to a podiatrist, who will look at the foot and decide if it needs surgery or not. Most of the time, bunion surgery is a last resort to get rid of the painful bone growth and stop the pain for good. However, with the right bunion treatment methods, which include some simple home therapies, it can be managed for as long as possible.
What is Bunion and Why is Early Treatment Important
A bunion also known as hallux valgus is a joint deformity caused by wearing tight shoes that places the foot in uncomfortable positions, thereby increasing pressure on the toe joints. It’s also a result of foot stress and joint conditions like arthritis.
You can identify it by a large or slight bulge at the base of your big toe, or the second toe. People prone to bunions are nurses, ballet dancers, ushers, security guards, and people in professions where they have to walk or stand frequently.
Early treatment is essential to avoid further complications that may affect the second toe. In most cases, ignoring the symptoms will worsen the bunion pain, leading to hammertoe and other complicated conditions. But when you witness early signs and report to a podiatrist, the foot condition can improve with adequate treatments. Most people with bunions are comfortable walking around without pain, thanks to the right therapies and accessories.
When to See a Doctor
Bunions don’t form on the side of a foot instantly. They come with signs that you shouldn’t overlook. Instead, consult a doctor as soon as you notice these symptoms:
- Frequent pains around the foot
- A visible sign of a small protrusion
- Your comfortable shoes no longer fit your toes
- Redness or soreness around the big toe
- Uncomfortable and restricted movement of your big toe
Non-invasive Home Remedies for Treating Bunion Pain
Bunion surgery is a permanent solution that involves removing the bunion. It’s an expensive medical procedure and may take time to heal completely. But it’s always the last resort when the pain becomes unbearable.
In the meantime, you can treat bunion pain without surgery at home by trying the following pain relief therapies:
Heat therapy is another effective pain relief method for a variety of painful joints and inflammatory symptoms. If you don’t like the ice method, you can soak your feet in hot water for a few minutes or soak a dry clean cloth in hot water and use it to apply pressure on the area. Hot water or heat improves blood flow and relaxes sore joints to make you feel better. Heat also helps to reduce soreness and cramps caused by a bunion.
Over-the-counter pain relief medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen tablets or their injections can relieve pain and make you feel better. These are non-steroidal medications effective at reducing inflammation and pains in the body. If the protrusion and pain aren’t severe, the medications can alleviate the pain for a long while. Yet, it’s not enough to relax, you still need a podiatrist for adequate diagnosis and possible treatments.
Wear Comfortable Shoes or Custom Orthotics
Wearing shoes (narrow shoes and high heels) are the leading cause of foot problems among many individuals. If the shoe is uncomfortable for the feet and there are no cushioning insoles, wearing them for even half the day can lead to severe pains in the toes. It gets worse when you are having symptoms of bunions, or the bulge is already visible.
Tight shoes will only aggravate the pain. So, go for shoes that are your exact size with small wiggle room for the toes to stretch themselves and be comfortable. You can also use affordable shoe inserts that improve comfort, relieve joint pain, and provide arch support, among other benefits.
Alternatively, consider buying orthotic shoes or insoles, as they can dramatically relieve bunion pain and reduce inflammation. If you have the budget, you can request custom bunion orthotic shoes. Beyond pain relief, they help to evenly distribute the pressure of your body weight across the affected feet rather than stressing the big toe joint.
Avoid Taking Long Walks
You may have to avoid taking long walks until the joint deformity improves significantly. After trying any of the above methods, limit walking on foot for long hours to give the toe enough time to heal and avoid increasing pressure on it.
Use Footwear Accessories
There are many footwear accessories you can find online or in retail stores that can provide bunion pain relief for a long time. Some of these accessories include Bunion correctors or sleeves, bunion gel pads, bunion toe pads, and bunion splints. You would want to contact a podiatrist for the best recommendations when using these accessories.
Applying ice to painful areas of the body is a common pain relief therapy at home that applies to bunions. An ice pack constricts blood vessels around the affected body part which reduces inflammation and pain. Hence, to alleviate pain from bunions, and reduce swelling, apply ice to the protrusion for a few minutes. You will feel better afterward, but it’s not a permanent solution to the problem.
Get the Right Therapy with an Expert Podiatrist
Are your feet misaligned, or do you suspect you have bunions and don’t know what to do? You can at least do something to help by contacting the expert podiatrist at Rogers Foot and Ankle Institute. From regular foot problems to ankle emergencies and everything else that could go wrong with your feet, our friendly doctors will help you fix the problem and give you the right footing.
We offer individualized care to our clients, ensuring they get back on their feet stronger and better.