Bunions - Treatments

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What is the treatment for bunions? Are there home remedies to treat bunions?

Nonsurgical treatments such as rest and wearing loose (wider) shoes or sandals (preferably with a supportive sole) can often relieve the irritating pain of bunions. Walking shoes may have some advantages, for example, over high-heeled styles that pressure the sides of the foot.

Anti-inflammatory medications, such as acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin, Ecotrin), ibuprofen (Advil, Children's Advil/Motrin, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, PediaCare Fever), and naproxen (Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, Aleve), can help to ease inflammation, as well as pain. Local cold-pack application is sometimes helpful, as well.

Bunion shields or pads can reduce pressure on the bunion. Depending on the structure of the foot and severity of the bunion, custom insole orthotics can slow the progression of the bunion and address underlying biomechanical causes such as overpronation.

Inflammation of the joint at the base of the big toe can often be relieved by a local injection of cortisone.

Constant pressure or friction can lead to skin breakdown and infection that may require antibiotic therapy.

When the measures above are effective in relieving symptoms, patients should avoid irritating the bunion again by optimizing footwear and foot care.

For those whose bunions cause persisting pain, a surgical operation is considered for correction of the bunion. The surgical operation to correct a bunion is referred to as a bunionectomy. Surgical procedures can correct deformity and relieve pain, leading to improved foot function. These procedures typically involve removing bony growth of the bunion while realigning the big toe joint. Surgery is often, but not always, successful; failure to relieve pain can result from the big toe moving back to its previous deviated position even after surgery. However, proper footwear and orthotics can reduce the chances of surgical failure.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: julies, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 04

I had bunion surgery 20 years ago on my left foot. I had a prominent large painful bunion. I did not have much choice in nice shoes as the bunion would prevent me from wearing many. I will say it's not for the faint of heart; the pain on recovery was excruciating for at least 5 days. It took me at least two weeks to move around properly. That said it was well worth it. Twenty years later, the foot looks great and no return of bunion. I can wear cute shoes.

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Comment from: PattiK43, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 05

I suffered from a painful bunion for about 10 years. As it got worse and shoes became harder to find, my walking and exercise decreased. I am thin but heart disease runs wild in my family so keeping mobile is very important to me. I decided to have the surgery because I could barely walk and my quality of life stunk! And I'm only 43! A great doctor performed the surgery. I have pain here and there yes, but if you keep it elevated, ice it and relax for a good week or more, you'll be fine. I'm on day 18 and am beginning to put light pressure on it as I walk but not quite ready to bend it. Crucial to recovery is the wheel cart. For USD 40 a week I rented a knee bike to get me around. It is way better then crutches or walkers which put pressure and stress on other parts of your body that you are not used to. I would do it all over again and if I have to have the other done I won't hesitate!

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