A bunion is a lump that grows outward from the base of your big toe. Many people inherit feet that are genetically prone to getting bunions, which then become worse because of lifestyle factors like spending a lot of time on your feet and tending to wear tight, uncomfortable shoes. Ballet teachers, nurses, and teachers are especially prone to developing bunions. Bunions can be both painful and unsightly, but luckily there are specific things you can do to treat them:
Upgrade Your Shoes
Wearing tight or uncomfortable shoes will make your bunions much worse and potentially lead to other foot conditions as well. Wearing shoes that fit well (start with a fitting at a shoe store to be sure), have plenty of arch support and are a bit wider in the toe will help support your foot and prevent irritating your bunion. Well-made flats, comfortable sandals, and athletic shoes are all great options.
Once you have a few pairs of comfortable new shoes, make them even more supportive by adding inserts. Inserts made from memory foam or gel are especially comfortable, while moleskin adds a layer of protection without much bulk for more dainty dress shoes or sandals. Your podiatrist may also be able to make customized shoe inserts made to your measurements.
Get Pain Relief
Bunions can be quite painful, especially after a long day of standing or walking. Soaking your feet in warm water with Epsom salt at the end of the day can provide natural pain relief. Pain relief gels that you massage into your feet are another option. Some people with bunions find that gently stretching their toes and feet a few times a day also helps.
If you would like a more long-term solution, surgery may be your best bet. Surgery removes the bunion and moves your big toe into a more correct position so you are less likely to develop more bunions in the future.
You should especially consider bunion removal surgery if your bunion is causing you pain, if you work in a profession that makes your bunion worse (like professional dance or teaching), or if your bunion is contributing to the development of other foot issues, such as hammertoes.
If your bunion has become painful, it's important to make an appointment with a podiatrist like Robert A. Raley, DPM. They can offer more comprehensive treatment options and help you determine if it's time for surgery.