4 Natural Treatments for Bunions

Jan 04, 2024

Here’s a fun fact about bunions you probably didn’t know:

The word “bunion” comes from the Greek word for turnip because a bunion, a bump on the inside of your foot, usually looks red and swollen — just like a turnip.

That bump forms at the metatarsophalangeal joint, where the first long bone of the foot meets the first bone of the big toe. Prolonged pressure on the big toe causes it to lean toward the second toe, pushing the bones out of alignment and causing the bump to appear.

Here at Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists of Arizona, we specialize in treating bunions. We like to start with more natural treatments, saving surgical intervention for extreme cases.

Here are four natural treatments for bunions.

1. Wear shoes that fit properly

One of the easiest and most effective things you can do to relieve the pain from a bunion is to wear wider shoes. Shoes that are too snug put pressure on your big toe and force it inward, a major cause of bunions. 

Look for shoes with a wide toe box and flexible soles. If you’re not sure what kind works best, visit a store that sells specialty shoes or athletic shoes. 

2. Try braces, orthotics, or pads

There are other ways to correct the position of your feet to take weight off your toes and relieve pressure on the bunion. These include bunion pads (to protect the bunion from your shoe) and custom orthotics.

A splint or brace worn at night can help keep your toes straight to prevent joint stiffening.

3. Stretch and exercise your feet

If your bunion and toes feel stiff, stretching and moving the joints can help with the pain. Try a few easy bunion stretches, including flexing and unflexing your toes and rolling them on a tennis ball.

To really stretch your toes, point them straight ahead for five seconds, then curl them under and hold for another five seconds. Repeat at least 10 times daily for the best results.

4. Manage your pain 

Even with the steps above, your bunion may still be painful. Here are a few natural pain management techniques that can help:

  • Massage your feet
  • Soak your feet in an Epsom salt bath
  • Elevate your feet when you sit or lie down
  • Use natural supplements such as ginger to help reduce inflammation
  • Apply ice to the bunion for a few minutes every day

If these home treatments aren’t successful in alleviating your pain to a significant degree, surgery may be necessary to treat your bunion. There are several different surgical procedures that can be performed to correct your bunion with varying healing times. Most patients are back to all of their normal activities within 2-3 months after surgery. Some procedures will even allow you to walk on your foot immediately after surgery, with only a few weeks of reduced activity.

If you have a bunion, our team at Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists of Arizona is ready to help. Call our Chandler, Arizona, office at 480-963-9000 or book an appointment online today.