If you have a bunion — which is a bony bump that forms on the base of your big toe — then you might experience daily pain in that toe. Some people come to Next Step Orthopedics because they need Dr. Dominique Nickson to perform bunion surgery. Other patients, however, can decrease the pain and inconvenience of bunions by following a few suggestions. Here are seven ways you can live with bunions.
1. Lose weight to reduce pressure on your feet
Maintaining a healthy weight will reduce the amount of pressure your feet bare, which can reduce your bunion pain. You can avoid weight gain by eating a balanced diet and by getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day.
Moderate activities can include, cycling, swimming, and taking brisk walks. You can get even more benefits from vigorous activities, such as jogging and jumping rope.
2. Wear shoes with wide soles
Tight shoes will make your bunion more painful. When buying shoes, you should look for options with wide soles that don’t press against your toe joint. Good shoe options include athletic shoes, sandals, and soft leather shoes.
3. Use a shoe insert
Shoe inserts can relieve the pressure put on your bunion. You can start with shoe inserts made from moleskin or gels. Most drugstores sell a variety of inserts.
If you don’t get the relief you need from inserts sold at drugstores, Dr. Nickson can recommend an insert that will work for you.
4. Take anti-inflammatory drugs when bunions cause pain
An inflamed bunion can cause so much pain that it can make walking and standing difficult. Often, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, can help relieve your pain.
5. Soak your feet in warm water
Soaking your feet in warm water can reduce joint stiffness. You may want to start soaking your feet daily. Doing so can prevent stiffness and decrease bunion pain.
6. Reduce swelling with an ice pack
An ice pack can reduce bunion swelling and make it easier for you to wear shoes and walk without discomfort.
Place the ice pack on your bunion for about 15 minutes. Make sure you move the ice pack around so you don’t get frostbite. If you don’t have an ice pack, you can get similar benefits by soaking your feet in cool water.
7. Stretch your feet to improve flexibility
When your bunion hurts, you probably don’t feel like exercising. So take advantage of pain-free periods of the day to exercise and stretch your feet. Many people find that their bunions hurt less when they keep their feet in good condition. Some good stretches for bunions include:
- Pointing your toes straight for five seconds and curling them for five seconds. Do each stretch 10 times.
- Using your hands, gently pull your big to correct the alignment. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Repeat four times.
- Press your toes against a wall and hold the position for 10 seconds. Then flex your toes in the other direction for 10 seconds. Do the exercise four times.