The Strange New Bunion Hack You May Want to Skip

Once again, it’s awards season in Hollywood and, as we all know, some stars will do anything to fit into their designer gowns and high-heeled shoes.

Consider, for example, Viola Davis, who has earned the distinction of being the first Black actress to win a Tony, Emmy and an Academy Award. Clearly, she's not stranger to red carpets. But, as it turns out, she has an odd way of staying comfortable at her various appearance.

A little while back, she confessed to Ellen DeGeneres that she has a secret—AND STRANGE—pre-awards show beauty routine. Why am I sharing it with you? Because it had to do with her feet, of course!

Bumpy Feet and Cooking Fat: a Match Made in My Nightmares Crisco may be great for Southern Cooking, but it wouldn't be my recommendation for top bunion treatment

Apparently, Viola has bunions and, every so often, they make her feet hurt. Well, one day, she was on her way to the Screen Actors’ Guild awards (where she won Best Actress in a TV series, FYI. Those bunions weren't going to slow her down!) but she they were causing her some discomfort. Still, a star has to look good on the red carpet, so she opted for an unusual fix—Crisco! In order to, as she explains it, “keep friction away from the shoe and the toe (that has the bunion on it),” Viola just massaged her foot with the shortening and hoped the slippery stuff wouldn’t cause her to fall.

Again, she did walk home with a major award that evening. But I can't pretend that I don't hate everything about her quick-fix solution (aside from the messy situation going on in what were no-doubt expensive, designer heels.) As a Houston podiatrist, I understand how difficult managing bunion pain can be, but I also want to give my readers some sage advice: trying to treat bunions on your own with home remedies or over-the-counter products is not a good plan. 

Because, here's the deal with bunions: they may start out as a minor problem, but they can quickly progress to the point where they require surgical repair if not treated properly. Managing symptoms like Viola Davis does won't do anything to halt the progress of excess bone growth that creates these painful bumps on your feet. If you see an experienced podiatrist, however, we can typically prevent bunions from getting bigger with appropriate, timely treatment. Let's take a closer look at how I address bunions in my Houston podiatry practice. 

The Smart Way to Approach Bunion Treatment

When I see my bunion patients, I always start with the least invasive treatment plan that's still available. Of course, the smaller your bunion, the longer your list of options, which is why I can't say this enough: come in and see me as soon as you notice a new bump on your foot. 

If your bunion is still relatively small, before we even talk about removing it surgically, we can explore simple interventions that will stop it from growing bigger. First up, I will almost certainly recommend changing the kinds of shoes you wear (without lining their insides with Crisco, thank you Bunions this large will need more attention than a dash of cooking fat to keep you walking comfortably. very much.)

Depending on your level of discomfort, I may pad your bunion so it doesn't rub against the sides of your shoes and cause you more pain. Of course, I'll also want to address the root cause of your bony outgrowth. And, for many patients, that cause is a biomechanical imbalance that puts undue pressure on your feet. If that is the case, you may need to be fitted for custom orthotics, so we can take the pressure off your feet and prevent new or worsening bunion development.

Of course, in some cases, we may have to operate on your bunions. But that will be an option we explore after ruling out less-invasive treatments. Now, before I sign off, heed me call. If you’ve noticed a bump beneath your big or small toe that is beginning to cause you pain, don’t reach for the Crisco. And definitely don't sit around waiting for it to clear up on its own (because that won't happen.) Instead, schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider to get started on a preventative course of treatment.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
1 Comments
I've never heard of using Crisco on a bunion before. It makes sense because it would help stop friction from irritating the bunion. Like you say these home remedies will only help for a short time, and don't do anything to stop the excess bone growth. Thank you for the great article. http://www.aboitepodiatry.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7&Itemid=117
by Dave Thompson August 10, 2015 at 03:51 PM
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