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. A few years back, she earned the distinction of being the first Black actress to win a Tony, Emmy and an Academy Award. Clearly, she's no stranger to red carpets. But, as it turns out, she has an odd way of staying comfortable at her various red carpet appearances.

So, what's that secret? She once to Ellen DeGeneres that she has a STRANGE pre-awards show beauty routine. Why am I sharing it with you? Because it had to do with her feet, of course! And, more specifically, how she manages to avoid bunion pain. 

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, even though she's a big star, she's not immune to bunion pain. As a result, 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 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!

You read that right. She decided to harness the power of saturated fat. And she used it to “keep friction away from the shoe and the toe (that has the bunion on it..)” Basically, 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.  In fact, it's a down right terrible one. 

Why is this home remedy so problematic? 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 in the way that Viola Davis may give temporary bunion pain relief. But it won't do anything to halt the progress of excess bone growth that creates these painful bumps on your feet.

Now that's the bad news. But here's the good. If you see an experienced podiatrist when you first notice a bunion, you have so many treatment options. In fact, we can typically prevent small bunions from getting bigger. And we can do so with appropriate, timely, and minimally invasive treatments. Sounds good, right? Let's take a closer look at how we address bunions in our Houston podiatry practice. 

5 Products that Actually Manage Bunion Pain 

In our office, we can manage bunion pain using minimally invasive interventions. (Not with baking products.) One device we use is a bunion corrector, a brace that supports your bunion and foot, helping alleviate pain and get a good night's sleep.  We also look at your shoe choices, helping you choose roomier pairs and adding padding or over-the-counter insoles to the shoes to prevent painful rubbing. Now, insoles can relieve some discomfort. But they won't correct the underlying forces that caused your bunion to form in the first place. As such, your bunion will keep getting bigger. Unless we offer another intervention. 

Luckily for you, we have the perfect tool: custom orthotics. When we fit you for this supportive medical device, we can correct biomechanical abnormalities. In this way, we can relieve your bunion pain. But we can also prevent the bony bump from getting any larger. So, while you'll still have a noticeable bump on your foot? You will likely be able to avoid surgery. And, in our Houston podiatry practice, that's how we like to approach a bunion treatment plan: by choosing the least invasive--and most effective--available treatment options. 

The Smart Way to Approach Bunion Treatment

As we just mentioned, when we see bunion patients in the office, we always start by suggesting the least invasive treatment plan that's still available. Of course, the smaller your bunion is when you come and see us? Well, the longer your list of options. And that's why why we can't say this enough: come in and see me us 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, like the ones we listed above. First up, we 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, we may then progress to padding your bunion so it doesn't rub against the sides of your shoes and cause you more pain. Of course, we'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.

Join The Conversation
Dave Thompson 08/10/2015 03:51 PM
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
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