Bunions - Treatments

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How are bunions treated? Are there home remedies to treat bunions?

Nonsurgical treatments such as rest and wearing loose (wider) shoes or sandals 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.

To reduce tension on the inner part of the joint of a bunion, stretching exercises are sometimes prescribed. 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.

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

Any signs of skin breakdown or infection can require antibiotics.

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: Flossie, Female (Caregiver) Published: February 14

Do you know, that I don't believe any of the old wives tales of bunions being caused by pointy toed shoes or tight shoes. I am sure my mother, grandmother and probably, great grandmother did not wear pointy toed stilettoes, however we do have a shared history of flat feet and abnormally long second toes. My theory is that, as well as having flat feet that, because there is no arch to stop it, toes are always pushed up against the end of the shoe, and, because the second toe is so long and the soft part of it rests against the big toe, there is no natural traction of a bone, to keep the big toe in alignment. And if women are more prone, it may be because women have to produce cartilage that softens and will yield in cervixes for delivering babes.

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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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