Combat Bunion Pain and Discomfort
Bunions are a deformity of the bone that occurs at the joint of the big toe, causing it to point at an angle. bunionettes or tailor’s bunions form on the other side of the foot on the little toe bone. They are smaller than normal bunions but still provide the same problem.
Though not always painful, bunions can be uncomfortable and a hindrance, especially if they grow large enough to stop you from fitting into your shoes. If you have a bunion then you should visit your doctor or a podiatrist as they can advise on the best course of action.
Most treatments do not get rid of the bunion; instead, they ease pain and help reduce the pressure on the area. However, if the bunion grows, becomes painful or becomes debilitating then your doctor may suggest bunion surgery to have it removed. We’ve detailed the different bunion treatments below, split into non-surgical and surgical sections to give you an idea of the types of treatment you can receive and how effective they are.
Non-Surgical Bunion Treatments
Bunion pads are available from most pharmacies. They consist of a cushioned gel or fleece pad which sits over the bunion, protecting it from harm. This helps prevent the bunion from rubbing on the inside of shoes, becoming painful and aggravating the condition. It makes the whole experience of walking much more comfortable.
Most bunion pads stick to the bunion with an adhesive but some come with a loop which fits over the big toe, allowing the pad to fit in position on the bunion. Choosing which type is a matter of personal preference
A podiatrist will suggest orthotics for a number of foot ailments, including bunions. An orthotic is a cushioning device which is placed in the shoe to help alleviate pressure on certain parts of the foot and to realign the bones. They are not specifically made for bunions but they can help take the pressure off the bunion and therefore relieve pain and discomfort.
Orthotics are available from most pharmacies, however, depending on the severity of the bunion, it is best to visit a podiatrist and get one made especially for you.
If your bunion is painful then some over-the-counter medications can help ease it. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen are recommended as they should tackle the pain, just ensure that you read the leaflet and take the pills as the pack describes.
One of the most important factors in tackling bunions and one of the most effective is to ensure that you wear shoes that fit properly. Bunions can often be caused or exasperated by tight and poorly fitting shoes as they put pressure on the toe joint and can push the big toe in an unnatural direction. This is why it’s important to wear shoes that fit; they won’t put any more pressure on the toes and there should be room for the toe joint so that it does not rub against the side of the shoe.
It’s a good idea to get your feet measured professionally so you know exactly what size shoes you should be wearing. A lot of us think we are wearing the right sized footwear but our feet can change shape over time. So get your feet measured to ensure your shoes don’t make your bunion any worse.
Surgical Bunion Treatments aka Bunion Surgery
If the non-surgical bunion treatment options do not work, or if the bunion is painful or affecting your movement, then surgery may be called for. There are several different types of bunion surgery with different levels of effectiveness. They are performed under local or general anaesthetic, depending on the type, and are usually just day procedures.
The most common of bunion surgical procedures, an osteotomy involves cutting and removing the bony joint and realigning the bones in the toe. This is often combined with a distal soft-tissue realignment procedure which adjusts the tissues so they support the toe bone.
During this procedure surgeons remove the bunion and the damaged joint and form a new joint out of scar tissue. Wires are inserted to hold the new joint in place; they are then removed after a few weeks.
This procedure is usually only performed on patients with severe bunions. It involves removing the joint of the big two and fusing the bones together with screws or plates. This means that there is a lot less flexibility in the toe after the operation so is not recommended for athletes or dancers.