Yes, You Can Treat Bunions Without Going Under the Knife

Posted by Orthotics Direct on 2021 Aug 16th

If you have a bunion or know someone who’s suffered with one, then the desire for immediate relief isn’t foreign to you. Many sufferers assume that they need to have bunions removed surgically, which, of course, a line of treatment most want to avoid.

Contrary to popular belief, however, you don’t always need surgery to remove a bunion. You can treat bunions with other methods including the use of orthotic solutions that can help. This post will examine bunions in fuller detail and how sufferers can treat them with non-invasive methods.

Bunion Treatment: What’s the Best Way to Remove Them?

Does non surgical bunion treatment work? Absolutely. In fact, non-surgical bunion treatment is the most appropriate treatment for a mild or moderate bunion. Some common at-home remedies will be all the bunion treatment you need for pain relief and to reduce the size of the bunion.

Non-Surgical Bunion Treatment

  • Wear comfortable shoes - Fit your feet into shoes that provide adequate room for your toes. This will take pressure off the bunion so that you feel less pain and also for swelling to decrease.
  • Add some padding - Bunion pads can decrease the pain of bunions as well. They provide space between the big toe and your shoes and act as a cushion to protect the inflamed toe from getting hit.
  • Take over-the-counter painkillers - More painful bunions may respond well to common pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen sodium (Aleve). However, it’s important to take these medications as directed and to speak to your doctor beforehand if you take other medications or have other health conditions.
  • Put ice on the bunion - Good old fashioned ice keeps swelling at bay and relieves the soreness that bunions cause. You can apply an ice pack on a bunion for quick relief, but speak to your doctor if you have circulation issues before using ice as a bunion treatment.
  • Use orthotic solutions - Your foot type may trigger the development of bunions and aggravate existing ones. In that case, wearing custom orthotic solutions can help evenly distribute pressure throughout your feet to help existing bunions to heal and to prevent ones from developing.

Make these five bunion treatments your first line of relief if the pain and size of the bunion is tolerable. You should also schedule a doctor’s visit if you’re not sure whether conservative, at-home bunion treatment will suffice or not. For many cases, a combination of these at-home bunion treatments will bring the fastest relief.

When Surgery is the Most Appropriate Bunion Treatment

There are two main factors that will determine whether you need surgery or not: 1) the severity of the bunion itself (pain/swelling), 2) whether the bunion responds to conservative treatment or not.

Intense pain and swelling that debilitates you and interferes with your daily activities may require surgery. Also, a bunion that doesn’t heal from at-home treatments or gets worse, may require surgery as well.

Again, your doctor will be the one to determine whether surgical removal is the best bunion treatment for you. The procedure will likely involve removing swollen tissues around the big toe and straightening the big toe itself. The surgeon may also have to realign the bones in the front of the foot to correct the angle of the misshapen toe joint.

Recovery from bunion surgeries may take a few weeks and you will likely be advised not to wear narrow shoes after the procedure. If a bunion is merely a cosmetic problem, then you most likely won’t need surgery.

Bunions - Causes and Description

The bony bump that we call bunions develop when some of the bones in the front part of the foot move out of place. That’s why the tip of your big toe gets pulled towards your smaller toes and makes the joint at base of your big toe jut outwards. This leads to those unpleasant symptoms you’re all too familiar with including:

  • Red and sore skin (that covers the bunion)
  • Swelling around the big toe joint
  • Bulging bump on the outside of the bottom of your big toe
  • Persistent or recurring pain
  • Reduced movement of the big toe

Here’s the kicker with bunions: doctor’s don’t know for sure why some people get them and why others do. It’s common for people to wear the same type of shoes and have similar habits, yet some will develop bunions while others remain bunion-free.

So far, researchers believe that bunions form due factors such as genetic predisposition, congenital defects (defects present at birth) and foot injuries. They also believe that people with autoimmune and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis are more at risk for developing bunions.

When it comes to shoes, researchers are divided. Some believe that high heels and ill-fitted shoes can lead to bunions yet the role of footwear in the development of bunions remains mysterious. Nevertheless, doctors will still recommend against certain types of shoes for people who have bunions.

Treat a Bunion Before it’s a Burden

Regardless of whether you need surgical or at-home bunion treatment, it’s beneficial to treat them asap. The sooner you treat a bunion, the faster you will feel better and more importantly, the less likely you are to develop complications.

Untreated or delayed bunion treatment can lead to other painful foot conditions such as hammertoes and metatarsalgia, so prompt care is important. With that said, we recommend wearing orthotic solutions as a bunion treatment (and future prevention) because one’s foot structure and gait is a likely albeit unproven cause of bunions.

Custom orthotics in particular fit one’s foot type and reduce the pressure that may cause and aggravate bunions in the first place. In combination with other treatments, your bunions may soon disappear as if they were never even there.

Looking at orthotic support for bunions but unsure where you should start? Get in touch with us to help you find the perfect fit!