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Updated by Emma Kalman on Mar 22, 2021
Emma Kalman Emma Kalman
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6 Best Ways to Get Rid of Bunion Pain

Bunions are one of the most prevalent foot issues that everyone can get.


6 Best Ways to Get Rid of Bunion Pain

6 Best Ways to Get Rid of Bunion Pain

Bunions are one of the most prevalent foot issues that everyone can get. Nearly one-third of people over the age of 65 develop a bunion, but you can get it at any age. The biggest symptom is significant foot pain.

Bunions develop over a long period of time. They can become larger and make the big toe angle inwards. In addition to being painful, bunions can make it difficult to wear regular shoes or to do certain activities.

An untreated bunion will get worse over time and become more deformed and painful. It can even impact other parts of your foot and body as it worsens. The most common causes of bunions include:

  • Genetics
  • Gender
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Poor shoe choices

Since bunion is often accompanied by pain, it’s a good idea to know how to handle bunion pain. Here are six effective ways to overcome the pain caused by bunion:

1. Physical therapy

Certain foot, hip, and leg strengthening exercises can help improve muscle imbalances that contribute to wrong walking patterns and eventually bunions.

Focusing on ankle mobility, muscle flexibility in your feet, and making sure you walk correctly is essential. Toe-spreading exercises and exercises that strengthen the muscles that pull the toes into place are helpful as well.

The best way to benefit from physical therapy is to work with a physical therapist, who can give you one-on-one attention, assess the way you walk and guide you through exercises to help correct your gait.

2. Toe spacers

Toe spacers and support devices might help alleviate bunion pain and slow the progression of bunions by keeping the big toe in a correct position. The research isn’t clear on whether toe spacers actually work. However, they’re harmless, so you might try them to see if they’re helpful.

3. Bunion surgery

Conservative treatment options are effective for treating certain types of a bunion. However, some people might need more invasive treatment options. If the pain persists, bunion surgery might be necessary, especially for large bumps and joints with severe osteoarthritis.

During the surgery, your doctor will realign or remove part of the bone. This procedure will help shift the toe joint back to where it belongs so you can regain function and walk pain-free. Depending on the severity of your problem and your foot, a specialist might also move or shorten the surrounding ligaments, tendons, and nerves.

4. Over-the-counter medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, can help reduce inflammation and pain provoked by bunions. But don’t take them for an extended period of time.

Over-the-counter medications have potential side effects like kidney damage and stomach ulcers, and certain health conditions can raise your risk of these effects. You should always follow the instructions on the label.

5. Supportive footwear

Shoes that are designed for long-distance running can help lower bunion pain. Choose brands that sell wider versions.

When choosing shoes, pay attention to a large toe box, mesh, or other soft and flexible material, arch support, ample cushioning to absorb shock from the ground, and a supportive heel.

Proper shoe sizing is essential, especially the width. The best way to know your size is to get your foot measured for length and width.

6. Orthotics or bunion pads

Orthotics are devices that you need to put inside your shoes. They help control pronation and take the pressure off your bunion. Your physician might prescribe custom orthotics or guide you in how to buy an over-the-counter pair. You can also purchase bunion pads at your nearest drugstore. They help ease the pressure.