We have strong feelings about how bunions should best be treated. First, you should try all conservative treatment before considering surgery. Surgery should be your last resort. Second, you should see a good podiatrist for treatment if you have bunions. Although there is a lot you can do on your own to decrease the pain associated with bunions, to slow or stop the bunion from getting bigger, you need more sophisticated treatment. For example, if prescribed correctly, custom orthotics have been shown to decrease the forces that cause bunions.
If you cannot see a podiatrist right away, however, here are some bunion self treatments that you can do on your own to decrease bunion pain.
Try our 12-step plan to eliminate bunion pain. Try the plan for 2 months, if you still have pain, then see a podiatrist.
1.Use an arch support in your shoes.
This will act to transfer force off of the area of the bunion. OTC arch supports will not work as well as a quality custom orthotic, but will help. The best that we have found for transferring pressure off of a bunion is the PowerStep Medical Grade Orthotic,
2. Instead of slippers, use a sandal with an arch support to wear around the house.
This will act to decrease pressure on your big toe joint. We recommend the Wave Flip-flop Sandal – available here for its superior arch support.
3. Use a Sandal Gel Toe Spreader when you are wearing your flip-flops.
Soft Silicone Spreaders with built-in slit for sandals/thongs. It wraps around the thong to reduce friction and enhances walking comfort in thongs, flip flops, and sandals.
4. Wearing the correct socks can help reduce bunion pain.
Socks help in two ways. First by reducing friction on the bunion and second by providing cushion. Cotton is a poor choice for people with bunions because of high friction. Because it has low friction, no seam over the bunion and cushions the bunion from shoe pressure, our favorite sock for bunions is the Juzo Silver Sole Sock. Available in white and black.
5. Use a pad over the bunion deformity.
The pads we have found our patients like the best is the Bunion Care Gel Sleeve. A less expensive pad are the Silicone Bunion Shields.
6. Use a separator between your first and second toes to prevent them from abutting against each other.
The best separators are made of silicone. Try the Gel Toe Separator.
7. Use a Bunion Splint at night to prevent the first toe and second toe from pushing against each other.
These reduce pressure between the toes. There is no evidence they provide long-term straightening of the toe.– but there is no proof of that in the literature.
8. Ice the bunion for 10 minutes each evening.
9. Use a topical pain reliever such as Orthogel Cold Therapy Relief Gel during the day.
10. Find a shoe store with well trained shoe fitters to fit your shoes.
You can find a list of shoe stores on our Shoe List. A good shoe fitter will not only lead you to the best fitting shoes, but can often modify the shoe to fit difficult to fit feet. If you don’t have a good shoe store nearby, these Orthofeet Shoes for Women and Orthofeet Shoes for Men work great for bunions as they have extra room in the toe box and are easy to stretch. Both casual and athletic shoes are available.
11. Stretch your shoes over the bunion deformity.
You can stretch them yourself with a ball and ring shoe stretcher.
12. For very large bunions use a stretchable shoe:
These Women’s Stretchable Shoes and Men’s Stretchable Shoes have a unique design that combines suede leather and spandex, which is both elastic and breathable. It stretches to conform to the contours of the foot, accommodating foot deformities, and eliminating pressure on bunions and other prominences. Provides exceptional comfort for feet with bunions, tailor’s bunions, hammertoes and bony prominences.
A home remedy will not get rid of your bunions. But you can use self treatment to decrease pain.