Millions of people around the world suffer from bunions. They’re a progressive deformity that will not improve without treatment or surgery. Unknown to most, they’re are options that can work to help with discomfort or pain associated with bunions other than surgical procedures. Authorities in the field often urge bunion suffers to try natural and conservative methods to relieve any pain or discomfort before undergoing surgery. In this class we will look at some natural ways of how to get rid of bunions or the discomfort you experience, and how to prevent them.
A bunion, also know as hallux vagus, occurs when the big toe (metatarsophal-angeal joint) becomes misaligned extending the joint further away from the foot and turning the big toe in towards its shoe mates. They generally form on the inner foot but can also occur on the outside of your foot near the base of your little toe. These bunions are generally referred to as a tailor’s bunion.
The enlarged joint resulting from a bunion can become inflamed and very painful. Fluids may build up in the joint resulting in more inflammation, redness, and pain. Depending on the severity of your bunion you may not have any symptoms. General signs are a pain or discomfort in your foot when walking or wearing constricted shoes. Bunions can commonly also cause corns resulting in more discomfort. Learn how to get rid of corns on toes. It’s important to note that foot pain may be related to gout in post-pubertal men and post-menopausal women.
What Causes Bunions
Bunions will form after years of misalignment. The root causes of bunions can be a lot of different factors. Footwear and professions are often a main factor that will contribute to someone forming bunions. Women are ten times more likely to form bunions due to their footwear. Professional dancers such as ballet dancers tend to form bunions due to the stress they point on their the joints in their feet.
Some people are just more prone to forming bunions due to the natural alignment of their feet. While adding in external factors like professions and footwear will only add to your chances of forming bunions.
Most podiatrist will tell you to not consider surgery unless the pain is unbearable and all other treatments have been exhausted. The following tips will help you to relieve discomfort associated with bunion discomfort.
How to Relieve Bunion Discomfort
Wear sandals whenever possible. If you can’t wear sandals try to wear shoes with plenty of room for your toes. Constricting or putting pressure on your bunions will only cause more pain and discomfort.
Use bunion splints to help prevent further deformity. Splints are more effective in younger people whose bones and joints are still forming. Studies have shown that splints can help correct misaligned joints over long periods of time and further prevent bunions. Since it is harder to change bone position as you get older, splints may not be as effective in adults. However, splints can help loosen the joint providing mobility helping to reduce some of the pain.
Take medication for the pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen and aspirin can help reduce the swelling and irritation caused by bunions. Always consult with your physician when using any medication. We never suggest the long term use of any medications unless absolutely necessary.
Apply a cold compresses to your foot at the end of the day. This will help to reduce the swelling and the pain that goes along with it.
Use shoe stretchers to provide more room in your existing shoes. You can purchase a shoe stretcher at most shoe stores or online. They simply are placed in your shoes when your not wearing them to help stretch your shoes out providing more room for your toes.
Perform daily exercises to help increase mobility. Exercises will help your joints from becoming arthritic. You can perform the following exercises:
- Grasp your big toe, or your little toe for a tailor’s bunion, and stretch your toe in all directions holding for several seconds in each position.
- Scrunch your toes up and hold for several seconds followed by extending your toes as far as possible and repeat several times.
- Pull on your toe slightly and hold for several seconds. Make sure to not over exert your joint. Never perform any exercises if you feel pain.
- Use an elastic band attached to both big toes as seen in the picture to the right. Stretch your feet so the toes become properly aligned. Hold for several seconds and repeat.
How to Remove Bunions
There is no way to completely get rid of bunions except for surgery, especially in sever cases. Most podiatrists are going to tell you to practice methods similar to those in this article before even considering surgery.
Surgery generally involves an incision on the top or side of the big toe and the removal and realignment of tissue, bone, and cartialage. Depending on the severity of your bunion, they may use screws, wires, or a steel plate to help keep the joint properly aligned. More than 100 different surgical procedures may be used depending on your specific condition.
Recovery times after bunion surgery can be anywhere from 6 weeks up to 6 months depending on the amount of tissue and bone removed. Full recovery may take up to one full year. You will be required to keep pressure off of your foot so it may be best to perform surgery one foot at a time so you can still use crutches.
Considering surgery is always something that should be carefully thought through. I highly suggest you get more than one opinion when considering surgery. You also should try all of the other natural treatments before committing to surgery.
- Wear proper footwear. Things like high heels and shoes with constricted space for your toes are a bad idea. Simply put, if a shoe isn’t comfortable don’t wear it.
- Shop for shoes in the afternoon when your feet are most swollen. Make sure to take some time walking around the store to make sure the shoe is comfortable and fits your foot well.
- Use orthopedic padding or insoles in shoes. Not every shoe will fit you perfectly. Personally, my left foot is two full shoe sizes smaller than my right foot. This is common in a lot of people. I use orthopedic insoles in my right shoe so that both shoes fit properly.
- If you see early signs of misalignment in your children consult with a podiatrist. Splints and exercises can help correct bunions when caught at an early stage.
- Relax and stretch your feet. Maintaining mobility in all of your joints is important, so don’t neglect your feet.