5 Ways to Soothe Bunion Pain Without Surgery

Bunions are painful bumps that develop on the inside of your feet at the base of your big toes. Unfortunately, bunions are progressive, so the larger the bump becomes, the more problems it can cause when it becomes inflamed, making even a brush with a bedsheet painful. While there are surgical solutions for painful bunions, you can also address the problem through more conservative measures.

At Neuhaus Foot and Ankle, our team of qualified podiatrists specializes in the many conditions that can develop in your feet and ankles, including bunions. And as with most medical problems, early intervention is key and may help you avoid surgery with a lengthy recovery.

Here’s a look at five ways you can soothe bunion pain without resorting to surgery.

1. Change your shoes

Bunions form when the bones in your metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint become misaligned. First, your long metatarsal bone shifts outward (toward the inside of your feet) causing the phalanx bones of your big toe to angle toward your other toes. As these bones shift, it creates the bony protrusion that’s the hallmark of a bunion.

The most common reason for the change in your MTP joint is footwear that crowds your toes into small spaces. And if you add high heels to the mix, your toes are further crammed, leading to a misalignment in your joint.

So, at the first signs of a bunion, we urge you to change your footwear to shoes that give your toes plenty of room to spread out.

2. Extra support

Another great nonsurgical solution for bunions is custom orthotics. As the name implies, our custom orthotics address your specific issues, so when we see a bunion beginning to develop, we take that into account when we design your inserts. With the right support, you can halt the progression of your bunions by redistributing the weight in your feet.

3. Steroid injections

If your MTP joint becomes inflamed, we can inject a corticosteroid into the area to relieve the pain and swelling. These injections are designed to address your discomfort, but they won’t help the progression of your bunions unless you make the necessary changes to your footwear.

4. Pad and separate

Another great way to protect your bunion is to wear protective padding and toe separators. Again, these steps are designed to help you find relief from a developing bunion and should be done with a change in footwear.

5. At-home care

If your bunion is giving you trouble, a warm footbath and anti-inflammatory medications can go along way toward soothing the pain. If your bunion is inflamed you may swap out the warm foot bath for some icing therapy, which will reduce the swelling and numb the pain.

If you continue to experience problems with your bunions after trying these steps, it may be time to consider surgery. But before we recommend surgery, we’ll review all the conservative measures first.

To learn more about finding relief for your painful bunions, contact one of our offices in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Murfreesboro and Lebanon, Tennessee, to set up an appointment.


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