Taking Care of a Bunion - Foot Health Center - EverydayHealth.com

Taking Care of a Bunion - Foot Health Center - EverydayHealth.com

Taking Care of a Bunion
Unless you go barefoot all the time, it's tough to ignore a bunion. But how do you ease the pain?By Diana RodriguezMedically reviewed by Niya Jones, MD, MPH

If a painful bunion is keeping you from doing the things you enjoy or wearing your favorite shoes, it's time to seek help. Bunion treatment can range from simple changes in footwear and preventive care at home to treatment from a podiatrist. Which treatment is best for you will depend on the severity and discomfort of your bunion.

Bunion: Do-It-Yourself Treatments

Bunions are caused by abnormal tissue and bone growth adjacent to the big toe. Though they can become quite painful, bunions "can be treated conservatively," says Alan K. Mauser, DPM, a podiatrist in Louisville, Ky. He suggests that people try bunion pads, comfortable footwear, and anti-inflammatory medications to soothe foot pain associated with bunions. "These won't get rid of a bunion, but may help slow down progression by improving the mechanics of the foot," Dr. Mauser says.

Try these do-it-yourself bunion treatments:
Wear comfortable shoes. Make sure your shoes are wide enough and don't put added pressure on your bunion. Avoid wearing shoes with heels higher than two inches while your bunion is bothering you.Use a bunion pad. Buy bunion pads at the drugstore to cushion the bony area of your foot when you wear shoes.Take a pain reliever. An over-the-counter pain reliever can help manage pain and swelling.
Bunion Treatment: Podiatry, Therapy, and Surgery

If you are still in pain after trying the above tips, it's time to call the doctor. A podiatrist can prescribe orthotic shoe inserts to help ease bunion pain by relieving pressure on your feet. The foot specialist may even administer steroid injections to control inflammation and pain.

Physical therapists also play a role in reducing swelling and strengthening the joint. A technique called ultrasound therapy, which uses sound waves that produce heat to manage pain and inflammation, may be used in addition to physical therapy exercises.

The only way to truly get rid of a bunion, however, is with surgery. The operation requires several weeks on crutches during recovery, and is something you should carefully consider.

It's a big decision, but if you're suffering from bunion-related pain, surgery can help relieve your symptoms. "It's a quality-of-life issue. If it's affecting everyday life, you should think about having surgery to correct it," says Mauser. "It's all dependent on the severity, and how much it bothers you."

Bunion Treatment: Long-Term Prevention

If you're looking for ways to keep bunions at bay, there are a few things you can do to protect your feet.
Choose footwear wisely. This is probably one of the most important things you can do to prevent a bunion. Never wear shoes that are too tight or too small, particularly in the toes. Look for footwear with spacious toe boxes, low heels (no more than about two inches), and a soft sole. Shoes with a bit of give to them and that mold themselves to your feet are a good choice.Wear orthotic shoe inserts. These can correct the way you walk. Arch supports will usually do the trick, but you can ask your doctor about prescription orthotics to prevent bunion problems.
Bunions that are left untreated can cause serious foot pain and problems, including arthritis. Don't let bunions knock you off your feet. First, try to treat them yourself with over-the-counter pain relievers and proper footwear. If that doesn't help, seek care from a podiatrist.
03/14/2014 07:45:00
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