It can take weeks to months to recover after surgery to correct a bunion, of course, you want to do all you can to avoid it. Learn how to keep from making bunion symptoms worse and what to do if they hurt.
#1 Buy the Right Shoes
Continually wearing shoes with pointed toes and a narrow toe box is one of the most common reasons to have pain from bunions. It’s not hard to figure out why—88% of women in the United States wear shoes that are too small for them.
These tips can help keep bunions from bugging you:
• Try shoes with a larger toe box that is made from material that can stretch and are adjustable with laces, straps or hook-and-loop closures.
• Have your feet measured regularly because your shoe size can change with age.
• Don’t expect tight shoes to stretch.
#2 Prevent and Ease Pain
Doctors don’t recommend surgery unless bunions are painful or limiting your activity, and not all bunions are painful.
Wearing properly fitting shoes can help ease bunion pain. Using a shoe stretcher may give you a little extra room for your toes.
When bunions hurt, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, as appropriate. Using an ice pack 2 to 3 times a day can ease pain and inflammation, too.
#3 Get Your Doctor Involved Early
Bunions are a progressive condition. Just because you don’t want to have surgery doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see a podiatrist to have your bunion evaluated. Routine visits can help slow the progression of your bunion.
If you have pain, a podiatrist can also fit you for custom orthotics if you need them. You may get prescription medicines to help the symptoms of arthritis, and less often, you may get a cortisone injection to ease pain.
#4 Make Your Shoes Comfortable
Your doctor may tape can help you tape your foot for support or show you how to place pads in your shoes. Some people get relief from using splints or related items that reposition the big toe.
#5 Get Physical
Talk with your doctor about the benefits of physical therapy, specifically ultrasound therapy, to ease bunion pain.
Also, modify your activity or job if necessary. Standing on your feet for long amounts of time can make your bunion hurt worse.
Mayo Clinic: “Bunions: Treatments and Drugs”
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Bunion Surgery”
American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons: “Bunions (Hallux Abducto Valgus)”
American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society: “Bunions”
American Podiatric Medical Association: “Bunions”