How to Get Rid of Bunions Without Surgery
Whether it’s sandal season or boot season, you may be thinking it’s time to do something about that large bump jutting out at the base of your big toe.
Bunions are large bony bumps caused by the abnormal growth of the inner portion of the joint at the base of the big toe. There is an additional bone formation which together with the misalignment of the big toe causes it to protrude outward. This is known as hallux valgus deformity in medical terms. The normal position of the big toe instead of being straight forward, juts outward and becomes inclined toward the smaller toes.
This enlarged joint at the base of the big toe can become swollen, red and tender causing a lot of pain and discomfort while walking and standing. A small sac filled with fluid and adjacent to the joint can also become inflamed resulting in further swelling and pain.
Bunions are more common in women and result from tight, narrow toed, high heeled shoes. Genetic factors, nerve conditions of the foot like rheumatoid arthritis and abnormal formation of the bone at birth also contribute to bunions.
Bunions are progressive and usually get worse over time. Some natural treatments can help address symptoms, but they cannot correct the actual deformity. In cases of severe discomfort, surgery may be needed to correct the problem.
Here are some home remedies to help ease the symptoms of bunions.
Bunions often become sore and inflamed after you have been on your feet for too long. To relieve pain and inflammation, ice therapy is a good option. The cold temperature temporarily numbs the nerve endings and provides pain relief.
• Put a handful of crushed ice in a thin towel and wrap it.
• Place it on the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
• Take a break for 10 minutes and repeat the procedure 2 or 3 more times.
• Use this simple remedy as needed.
Massaging the affected area daily is a popular way to alleviate as well as prevent this problem. This therapeutic method helps increase blood circulation to the area and provides relief from the general discomforts.
Regular massage will even reduce the size of the bunion and make the affected area less susceptible to corns and calluses.
• Rub some warm olive, or coconut oil on the affected area.
• Using your fingers, do deep-friction massage for 10 minutes.
• Repeat 2 or 3 times daily.
You can always seek assistance from an experienced massage therapist to help slow down or reverse the formation of the bunion.
3. Foot Exercises
In many cases, exercising your foot can help reduce the pain and promote toe flexibility. It can also slow down the progression of your bunion, thus preventing the need for surgery. Daily exercise also helps strengthen the muscles of the legs and feet and may prevent bunions from developing.
• Sit on a chair and put the affected foot on your thigh. Roll a tennis or golf ball beneath the mounds of the toes, then anywhere else on the sole that feels tight. Do it for 5 to 10 minutes daily.
• Sitting on a chair, cup the sole of the affected foot in your palm, then interlace the fingers of your free hand between the toes of your foot. Bend the toes back and forth, upward and then downward, for 5 to 10 minutes.
• Stand up straight and point your toes straight ahead for 10 seconds, then curl them under for 10 seconds. Repeat several times.
These are just some exercises that you can easily do at home. There are many more helpful exercises that you can learn from an expert.
4. Epsom Salt
For bunions due to arthritis, you can try an Epsom salt soak to alleviate the pain. The high magnesium content in Epsom salt helps regulate the pH levels in the body, which is essential to fight inflammation and pain.
A warm Epsom salt soak will also take care of corns and calluses, common symptoms associated with bunions.
• Pour some warm water into a small tub.
• Add a handful of Epsom salt to the water and stir thoroughly.
• Soak your foot in it until the water is cold.
• Dry your foot thoroughly, then massage with warm olive or coconut oil.
• Do this up to 3 times each week.
You can also use turmeric to treat bunions. Its key component, curcumin, has pain-blocking ability and also helps reduce inflammation. Turmeric can be used topically as well as orally.
• For topical use, make a paste of ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little olive oil. Apply it directly on your bunion. Repeat 2 or 3 times daily for several days.
• For oral use, stir 1 teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of lukewarm water or milk and drink it twice daily.
Chamomile is a popular and effective herbal remedy that can provide relief from bunion issues. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce pain and inflammation. It may even help shrink bunions.
You can try any of these remedies or a combination of them:
• Brew a cup of tea using a chamomile tea bag and sip it while it is still warm. Also, put the used tea bag directly on your bunion. Use this home treatment 3 or 4 times a day.
• You can even apply some over-the-counter ointment that contains chamomile on the affected area to reduce pain and inflammation.
7. Choose proper footwear
To minimize your chances of developing a bunion as well as reduce the need for surgery if you already have one, pay attention to your footwear.
• Always opt for footwear with wide front, broad toes and soft soles.
• Use padded shoe inserts to help distribute pressure evenly when you move your feet.
• If you have a bunion, opt for shoes with a wide and deep toe area. Sandals are a good choice.
• Do not wear shoes with heels higher than 2¼ inches.
• Do not wear high-heeled shoes for longer than three hours at a time.
• Choose footwear that conforms to the shape of your feet.
• Never force your foot into a shoe that doesn’t fit.
• Along with shoes, avoid tight-fitting socks or stockings.
• Remove your shoes periodically during the day to give your feet a break.
When it’s time for surgery
If your bunion is causing pain, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. Dr. Botek says it’s time to consider surgery when you’ve felt pain for at least a year.
Your doctor also may recommend surgery because bunions can result in other painful foot problems, such as hammertoes, bursitis, a bunion below the little toe, or pain in the balls of your feet, Dr. Botek says. Surgery can be done on mild or severe cases.
“When patients come in at an older age, usually it’s because the bunion is causing other problems,” Dr. Botek says. “For these patients, the pain is more constant or is creating problems with the second toe.”
The goal of surgery is to return the big toe to its correct position. A surgeon puts bones, ligaments, tendons and nerves back into correct order, and removes the bump.
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