What You Need to Know About Home Remedies for Bunions
There is more than one way to treat a bunion. However, if your plan is to get rid of a bunion using home remedies, your options are very limited.
Limited to the point of not existing, unfortunately.
If you want to reverse a bunion, the only method that actually works is surgical correction. There is absolutely no home remedy you can attempt that will restore your toe to its original position.
But that said, there are things you may be able to do at home to address your bunion symptoms.
Why Bunions Can’t Be Reversed Naturally
To know why you can’t get rid of a bunion without surgery, it helps to understand how the bunion got there in the first place.
A bunion occurs when the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe starts to shift. This causes the big toe to start pointing inward, and the MTP joint to start forming a hardened, bony bump that protrudes from the inner edge of your foot.
The shift is caused by an instability in the joint and surrounding soft tissues. This can occur through an inherited foot structure or trauma to the foot. As pressure is exerted on this area over time, it can cause further instability and a progressively more severe bunion.
But if pressure is contributing to the bunion, can’t pressure cause it to go back? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. And even if you could physically force a bunion back into its original position, the instability at its source remains. You can think of it a bit like having a wiggly fence post in unstable ground. You can pull the post back to its original position, but unless you deal with the ground it’s in, (the joint), it’s going to become wiggly and lopsided again once you let go.
The only real way to fully correct the bump of a bunion, the position of the big toe, and instability in the joint is through surgery. And even then, there are some cases when the instability will return nonetheless and the bunion can start developing all over again.
But don’t be discouraged! Even if you don’t choose bunion surgery or it is not recommended for your case, there are still very likely steps you can take to help you find relief. That is where home treatments can step in.
What Can Be Done for Non-Surgical Bunion Treatment?
Since bunions become progressively worse over time, the most important factor in bunion treatment is this:
The earlier you begin bunion treatment, the better. Always.
You don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) wait for a bunion to become “bad enough” or start to interfere with your day-to-day life before you start doing something about it. In fact, by addressing bunions before they become more troublesome, future complications can be reduced or even outright prevented.
The best place to start is with a professional evaluation. We can take the time to examine your foot structure and learn more about your lifestyle, activities, and goals. Someone who regularly runs, for example, might have different needs than someone who works on their feet all day.
With all the information we need in hand, we can make our best recommendations for a bunion management and preventative care plan – many aspects of which you can perform at home.
Your bunion management plan may include:
Changes to Footwear
We will likely want to reduce excess stress on the MTP joint, and your choice of shoes plays a very significant role in that. We will typically recommend shoes with:
- Low heels. The higher the heel, the more weight it forces toward the front of the foot. Stick to low and wide heels instead.
- Wide fronts. Wearing tight footwear can cause irritation, redness, and discomfort if you have a bunion. Opt for models that have the width in the toe box to accommodate your condition.
- Deep toe boxes. With a bunion, height can be as much a consideration as width in the toes. Give yourself enough room in all dimensions, but ensure the shoes still fit properly and are not too big for your feet.
Incorporating Custom Orthotics
When changes to footwear may not be enough to reduce excess forces on a bunion, we often prescribe custom orthotics as a way to add further corrective cushioning and support.
Managing Pain and Swelling
If discomfort is currently a concern but not a severe one, certain home treatments may provide the relief you need.
Suggestions may include the use of over-the-counter nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and/or an appropriate icing regimen.
If your bunion is not particularly prominent, padding can help protect your bunion from friction against the inside of your footwear.
Padding comes in different varieties, but we typically recommend against using medicated pads, as these can cause complications. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help finding the best padding options for your needs.
Conditioning Exercises and Stretches
Exercises that focus on strengthening the supporting tissues of the MTP joint, as well as building and maintaining flexibility, can help condition a bunion against further progression and complications.
If you regularly exercise or participate in sports as well, we may want to fine tune your workouts to ensure you are receiving the greatest benefits while minimizing risks. The last thing we want to see happen is complications preventing you from doing what you love.
Professional Treatment: Your Best Bet for Bunion Relief
While there are measures you can take to find relief from bunion pain at home, the most efficient and effective course of action is to come in and see us for professional evaluation and treatment.
We can help you determine the sources of your bunion development and recommend a plan for addressing those factors directly. That will give you the best chance to find relief and keep the bunion from becoming any worse than it needs to be.