Is your big toe gradually angling over toward your second toe? If so, you’re probably also noticing a bony bump at the base of your big toe. This is the classic progression of a burgeoning bunion. For many, it’s a cosmetic concern. But it’s also a problematic protrusion that makes it hard to wear shoes and often causes pain and pressure.
Dr. Ryan Golub at Arizona Foot Health can walk you through the best way to treat your bunions. Whether they're causing you mild discomfort or severe pain, you shouldn't ignore bunions because some are serious.
Dr. Golub has compiled a list of natural ways to treat your bunions and relieve the pressure and pain before you resort to medical measures.
Blame your family tree for your bunions. While the shoes you choose and the way you spend your day may exacerbate your bunions, the root cause is genetics. If your relatives have them, your chances are high as well.
Arthritis is another factor because the disease deteriorates the cartilage in your joints. Even pregnancy can contribute to the development of bunions. During pregnancy, women’s hormones change, joints become more relaxed, the foot arch flattens, and the baby bump shifts the center of gravity forward toward the toes.
Whatever is causing your bunions, they’re not a health risk unless the deformity becomes debilitating. But if your bunion is cramping your style, here are your options for a nonmedical approach.
Excess weight causes more pressure on your feet. In fact, your feet take the brunt of your weight, so the more you weigh, the more they bear, which can be bad news for bunions.
Ditch your stilettos
Women get bunions more than men because of the shoes they wear. High heels, which force your toes into a point and concentrate the pressure, are one of the main culprits. Over time, the joint at the base of your big toe gets used to being bent out of shape and stays that way.
Wear wide shoes
When you have bunions, your toes are going to need some extra wiggle room. If weather permits, sandals are a good option. However, when you need full coverage, look for wide athletic shoes with flexible soles and good support.
Material with a little give to it, like soft leather or canvas, are smart choices. But make sure you choose shoes that keep your heel in place so your feet don’t slide forward and crowd your toes.
One of the best ways to relieve the pain and pressure of bunions is to pad them. Small, cushiony discs, also called moleskin, are available at your local drug store and put a buffer between your shoe and your bunion.
Dr. Golub can offer you a small splint or show you a taping technique to keep your toes in better alignment and help train them to stay straight. This won’t cure your bunion, but it can significantly slow the progression.
Soak it and ice it
If you’re feeling pain from your bunion, it’s likely caused by inflammation — your body’s way of dealing with anything out of sorts in your system. Ice packs do wonders for naturally reducing swelling. However, at the end of a long day on your feet, sometimes there’s nothing better than soaking your feet in warm water to help them relax.
Sometimes you just need a little extra support. Orthotics, or padded shoe inserts, can redistribute and even out the pressure on your feet, which can give your toes and bunions a much-needed break. These are available over the counter or, if you need customized support, Dr. Golub can fit you for prescription orthotics.
When it’s time to seek medical help for your bunions
If your bunions have progressed past the point where natural remedies can help, it’s time to see Dr. Golub. The first course of action may be to try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen to ease your pain.
In some cases, a bunionectomy may be necessary. If so, you can trust Dr. Golub to treat you and your bunions with expertise and compassion. After all, if the Phoenix Suns count on him to keep their feet in top condition, you can, too.
If your bunions are cramping your style, contact us today.