How do I Treat Bunion Pain?

Britt Archer
Britt Archer
Soaking the feet in water and Epsom salts may help with pain.
Soaking the feet in water and Epsom salts may help with pain.

Bunion pain is a common ailment characterized by swelling, pain and redness in the foot. Bunions can be mildly irritating, or painful to the point of preventing walking. Bunions are caused when the bones in the big toe shift toward the second toe. This may be caused by the way a person walks or by the shoes a person wears. In addition to pain in the big toe, bunions are associated with other foot problems, including the formation of corns and calluses.

High-heeled shoes can cause bunions.
High-heeled shoes can cause bunions.

There are a variety of at-home bunion pain remedies, all of which are aimed at correcting the displacement of the big toe. People with this type of pain should wear wide shoes, with a stretchy or leather upper section and a low or moderate heel. High-heeled shoes are usually tight fitting and may be the cause of some of the pain. People who are suffering from bunion pain are advised to place ice on the area and elevate the affected foot.

Bunions often occur because the big toe has slanted toward the other toes.
Bunions often occur because the big toe has slanted toward the other toes.

Moisturizing the foot and affected joints reduces callus buildup and corns, which may cause pain secondary to the displacement of the big toe. Lotions made specifically for feet or specialty creams for bunion sufferers may be helpful. For those with bunion pain in addition to overall foot pain, soaking the affected foot or feet in Epsom salts may be helpful.

If there is severe foot pain or a deformity, a doctor may recommend surgery.
If there is severe foot pain or a deformity, a doctor may recommend surgery.

Exercises may move the joints and keep them flexible, avoiding arthritis and leading to a small amount of bunion correction. Orthotics, or bunion pads, work to shield the area and cushion the foot during walking. A doctor may recommend the use of a bunion night splint, a device used to straighten the bunion during sleep and subsequently reduce the size of the bunion and the likelihood of pain during the day.

Bunion pain ranges from mildly irritating to excruciating.
Bunion pain ranges from mildly irritating to excruciating.

Occasionally doctors recommend bunion surgery in the event of severe pain or extreme deformity. Bunion surgery does not always result in a 100 percent recovery rate, and is only considered in the most extreme cases. Postoperative problems, including corns and calluses, are likely to result.

Always consult a licensed physician in the event of bunion pain. Other problems can mimic the symptoms of a bunion, rendering at-home treatment ineffective or harmful. A doctor should be able to correctly diagnose the condition and recommend the right treatment option for the level of pain, specific lifestyle and foot conformation.

Discussion Comments

anon239994

Another great option for bunion pain is Bunion Booties. Almost all the women in my family wear them! They are amazing, and my bunions barely bother me now! (small suggestion though: go with one size smaller)

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    • Soaking the feet in water and Epsom salts may help with pain.
      By: Jan Andersen
      Soaking the feet in water and Epsom salts may help with pain.
    • High-heeled shoes can cause bunions.
      By: vladstar
      High-heeled shoes can cause bunions.
    • Bunions often occur because the big toe has slanted toward the other toes.
      By: Photographee.eu
      Bunions often occur because the big toe has slanted toward the other toes.
    • If there is severe foot pain or a deformity, a doctor may recommend surgery.
      By: Saharrr
      If there is severe foot pain or a deformity, a doctor may recommend surgery.
    • Bunion pain ranges from mildly irritating to excruciating.
      By: ryupon
      Bunion pain ranges from mildly irritating to excruciating.
    • People suffering from bunion pain are encouraged to place on the affected foot.
      By: Mark Herreid
      People suffering from bunion pain are encouraged to place on the affected foot.