A bunion is a toe deformity that causes the big toe to gradually push into the other toes with a telltale bump forming on the joint of the big toe. A similar condition that affects the pinky toe is called a bunionette. When a bunion is in the early stages, conservative treatments can make the toe more flexible and can be used to decrease complications and even straighten the toe out to avoid surgery.
3 ways to treat bunions to relieve pain and swelling and help straighten the deformity to avoid the need for surgery include the following:
- Mitigate pain and swelling—OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen will decrease swelling. Resting the affected foot and applying an ice pack will also help.
- Use a bunion brace while sleeping—a specially made Velcro brace is used while sleeping to pull the big toe back into alignment and decrease the side pressure on the other toes. If worn regularly for many months, the toe will start to straighten out.
- Wear shoes with a wide toe box and orthotic inserts—Wearing shoes with a wider toe box will allow room for the bunion bump without excessive rubbing on the inside of your footwear that can cause redness, swelling, and painful blisters. Orthotic inserts can also help separate toes and insulate problem areas.
If you are experiencing bunion problems, see your foot doctor for the proper treatment. At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.