By JAY MERMELSTEIN, DPM
May 14, 2021
Category: Foot Condition
Bunion pain got you down? Is foot pain making it impossible to do the things you once loved? Perhaps even the thought of putting on shoes and running your errands has you nervous. Bunion pain can do that. The good news is that if your podiatrist tells you that you have a bunion there are ways to easily manage this issue on your own without needing to resort to surgery.
First Steps to Treating Bunion Pain
Many people can easily manage their bunion symptoms and slow the progression of this common foot deformity through simple lifestyle changes. There are several approaches you can take to reduce bunion pain including,
- Maintain a healthy weight or lose excess weight, which can take pressure off the feet
- Wear shoes that don’t put pressure on the bunion, that provide ample support, and that have lots of room for your toes
- Look for shoes that have a low heel (high heels can make bunions worse)
- Apply a gel or protective pad to the bunion before putting on shoes
- Talk to your podiatrist about the benefits of custom orthotics (aka shoe inserts) and how they could take pressure off the bunion when standing or in motion
- Take pain relievers, whether over-the-counter or prescribed by your doctor
- Warm or cold therapy such as warm soaks or applying ice can also improve swelling, inflammation, and pain (some people prefer the heat to the cold and vice versa; it’s a matter of preference. Try both and see what works best for you!)
- Talk with your podiatrist to see if a night splint could ease morning stiffness and pain
There are a lot of products on the market today that are geared toward people with bunions. Do not be tricked into thinking that there is some miracle device out there that will realign the joint and fix this issue. The only way to realign and repair the deformed joint is through surgery; however, if you follow the tips above you may find yourself able to fully control your bunion pain for the rest of your life without ever needing surgery.
Reasons to Consider a Bunionectomy
Of course, there are certain scenarios in which a podiatrist may recommend getting surgery to correct the bunion. Here’s when you may want to consider getting surgery,
- You are in significant and chronic pain
- Your bunion is severely enlarged, and the big toe is crossing over the other toes
- Your activities are limited due to your bunion
- Your bunion pain persists for more than a year
- Nonsurgical methods aren’t completely controlling your bunion pain
- You are developing other foot problems such as bursitis or hammertoes due to your bunion
Your podiatrist will always be the first person you should turn to if you have questions or concerns about your bunion. They can also create a treatment plan and help you implement new habits into your daily routine to prevent a bunion from getting worse.