How To Get Rid Of Bunions?

All over the world, people wonder how to get rid of bunions, which are painful and ugly. There is a lot of false information out there on bunions but this article will set the record straight on bunions and how to treat and prevent them, including wearing the right shoes and seeing a foot specialist regularly.

What are bunions?

Bunions are bony protrusions usually found on the base of the big toe right at the joint. By pressing against your next toe, the joint of your big toe becomes larger and sticks out. The skin over the big toe joint may become red and swollen or sore. You may also develop bunions on the joints of your other toes, but they are more commonly found on the big toe joints.

What are the causes of bunions?

The exact cause of bunions is unknown, though there are many theories. Most people think bunions form because of wearing high heels or shoes that are too tight, but experts disagree. Medical professionals think that high heels and tight shoes merely contribute to the development of bunions, but they are not the root cause. The root cause is often thought to be a hereditary condition.

Bunions are associated with rheumatoid arthritis, which is known to cause deformities in the joints over time. Gout is also another health condition that can lead to the development of bunions. Factors that contribute to the development of bunions include:

  • Foot injuries
  • Birth deformities (congenital)
  • Inherited foot structure
  • High heels
  • Tight shoes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

What are the symptoms of a bunion?

  • Swollen, red, sore joint area by the big toe
  • Corns or calluses between the first and second toes
  • Bump on the outside of the big toe at the joint
  • Chronic or occasional pain
  • Stiffness or arthritis in the big toe

Can bunions cause other foot issues?

Though bunions do not always cause other foot problems, they can lead to the following complications:

  • Bursitis – A painful condition that happens when the fluid-filled sacs that cushion the muscles, tendons and bones of the toes become inflamed.
  • Hammertoe – An abnormal bend in the middle toe joint in people with bunions, which typically happens in the second toe next to the big toe. A hammertoe causes painful pressure feelings in the affected toe.
  • Metatarsalgia – A painful inflammation on the ball of the foot that can occur in someone with bunions. It can affect the way they walk.

How to treat bunions

A few at-home remedies can be used to ease the pain and discomfort of bunions. These include:

  • Ice and over-the-counter pain relievers – Use an ice pack or ice wrapped in a towel on bunions, which will temporarily relieve the pain. Take some over-the-counter pain relievers to help with long-term pain relief.
  • Say goodbye to heels and pointed shoes – Wear shoes that fit properly with room in the toe area so that the toes can move freely. Wear flat or low-heeled shoes only.
  • Bunion pads – Your local supermarket or pharmacy will have stock of special soft adhesive pads meant especially to cushion bunions and keep them from rubbing on your shoes.
  • Orthotics – These are specially made insoles that are worn inside shoes to keep the bones in the foot aligned properly. As these take up room in your shoes, you may need to purchase wider fitting shoes to wear orthotics.
  • Exercises – The following exercises are easy and may alleviate your bunion pain or even offer some improvement over time:

1. Grasp your big toe firmly and rotate it in a wide circle, as wide as you can comfortably do so, for ten to fifteen seconds in a clock-wise direction. Repeat in a counter clock-wise direction.
2. With a hair tie or wide rubber band looped around both big toes, turn the feet outwards and stretch the big toes and hold for one minute. Relax for one minute and then repeat for one minute; relax and repeat for a total of five times.
3. With a towel on a carpeted floor, curl your toes to pull the towel toward you, using all your toes. Repeat this in the morning and evening.
4. Wrap a towel around the big toe and gently pull it towards you, resisting the pull of the towel with your toe. Pull and resist for five seconds; rest and repeat for a total of 15 times.

When to see a doctor about bunions

If you have tried the home treatments listed and still have the following problems, it is time to get in touch with your primary health care provider:

  • Chronic foot pain at the site of the bunions
  • Pain is keeping you from normal daily life
  • Bunions appear worse, more swollen or show increased redness
  • You also have diabetes; diabetes can complicate foot problems

How to get rid of bunions?

Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of bunions permanently is to have surgery. Most people do not want to resort to a surgical procedure unless they have quite a bit of severe pain that is not alleviated by the above methods. There are more than 150 different types of surgical procedures to treat bunions. Most involve cutting out the bunion itself. There are also procedures that remove bones from the surrounding toes and inserting screws, pins or wires instead.

Recovery time after bunion surgery can last three months or longer. Recovering patients must remain immobile, as their feet are typically swollen and need to be raised. The success rate in alleviating bunions with surgery is 80%, and one in ten people have reported complications. Some complications include the return of the bunions, no relief from painful bunion symptoms and the requirement of further surgery.

How to prevent bunions

If you have a hereditary condition that involves bunions, see a podiatrist or a chiropodist for regular checks of your feet. A podiatrist is a specialized doctor who treats conditions of the foot. If you are an avid runner, you may need to switch to a lower impact form of exercise.

People who are prone to developing bunions should invest in some orthotic insoles and wear them when exercising as well as going about daily life. Avoiding shoes that have pointed toes or a narrow fit can also help to prevent bunions. Look for shoes with low or no heels and a soft insole. Shoes with plenty of toe room can also prevent bunions from forming.