6 Non-Surgical Ways to Treat Bunions

Long walks on the beach are just one of the non invasive ways we can manage your bunion painLet’s talk about bunions: they’re bony growths that develop on the side of your foot, either at the base of your big or little toe (tailor’s bunion.) They tend to run in families, but may develop sooner or at a faster rate as a result of improper footwear. They’re painful, they’re unsightly and the only way to really get rid of them is with surgery.

But just because you can’t cure bunions without an operation doesn’t mean you can’t manage the symptoms to the point where they barely bother you, if at all. Here are 6 non-invasive ways to deal with bunions:

1. Swap your sneaks
Choosing footwear that is roomy in the toe area will take the pressure off your bunion (translation: less pain) and may prevent the bunion from being pushed into further protuberance. Shoes with good arch support may also relieve pressure from the sides of your feet.

2. Go for orthotics
Low arches and flat feet can contribute to bunion growth; correcting these issues with a custom orthotic may stem the growth of your bunion.

3. Ice, ice, baby
Place a thin cloth over your bunion then apply ice for between 10 and 20 minutes to ease the pain. OTC pain meds may help manage discomfort as well.

4. Some like it hot
For those who hate a chill, warm soaks along with gentle foot massage have also been know to stop the bunion hurt.

5. Get padding
Placing moleskin or felt patches over your bunion and the surrounding area will keep shoes from directly running your sore spots and causing more discomfort.

6. Work it out
Strengthening the muscles that control your big toe may keep your bunion from getting bigger. Try these suggestions: Use your fingers to (gently) bring your big (or baby) toe back into alignment. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat several times; pick things up with your toes; walk barefoot on the sand for toe strengthening and a gentle massage.

In my Houston podiatry practice, I always begin treatment with less invasive options. If you are struggling with bunions, come and see me so we can discuss the best way to keep you walking comfortably.  

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.