Bunions, in simplest terms, are characterized by enlargement of the joint at the inner portion of the base of the big toe. When this happens, the big toe (which is normally positioned straight) comes to bend towards the smaller toes. One of the most common causes of bunions are ill-fitting shoes and putting too much pressure on the feet. People who suffer from bunions also experience chronic pain, redness and swelling at the base of their big toe, which may or may not be relieved by resting the foot. The most common cure for bunions is surgery, but there are some less invasive but effective treatments that could also be undertaken.
- Use orthotic shoes and foot accessories. There are some shoes and shoe accessories which will help correct the imperfect structure of foot affected with bunions. You might also benefit from bunion pads, toe spacers, cushions and braces. Visit your podiatrist (foot doctor) so he could give specific recommendations on the best type of shoe accessories for your situation.
- Invest in very good footwear. Apart from orthotic shoes, simply changing your footwear could do loads of good in relieving the symptoms of your bunions. Make sure that you adopt the proper strategies for choosing new shoes: for example, you should fit at the end of the day, when your feet are at their largest; you should fit shoes to your larger foot (do know that the two feet are sized differently); and select a shoe that conforms to the shape of your foot, not just the size.
- Stay off your feet as much as possible. This will help relieve the symptoms of the bunions and, with time and care, will also help treat the bunions themselves. At the end of the day, you could also apply ice therapy on your bunions to relieve the pain and reduce the swelling.
- Get physical therapy treatments. Physical therapy administered by a licensed practitioner (in the form of massage, hot packs or electrical stimulation) may relieve the symptoms of the bunions.
- Take medication. For this case, you will need anti-inflammatory medications to address the swelling of your bunions. Anti-inflammatory medications you could take include Advil or Tylenol.
- Consult with your doctor. Of course, no matter what type of self-care you provide for your feet, it’s still very important that you coordinate with your doctor closely so you could ensure that your feet situation progresses. You should undergo physical examinations for the doctor to assess the extent of soft tissue damages and the extent of the misalignment, and X-rays as well.
Do know that even though bunions can be corrected with nonsurgical treatments, these are most effective only during the onset of the condition. As the bunion progresses, surgery may be the best way to correct the condition. That’s why until your doctor says that your condition can be treated even without surgery, you have to be open-minded about the possibility that you will need to undergo a surgical procedure in order to correct your bunions. Do be encouraged by the fact that most bunion surgery is done on an outpatient basis; you should be ready to go home from surgery after about one or two hours. Complications arising from bunion surgery also happen relatively rarely (fewer than 10% of patients report complications after the surgery). Good luck, and hope this helped!