Natural Bunion Treatment
1. Wear Wider Shoes
Changing your shoes can help take stress off of your big toe and allow the bunion to heal. The “vast majority of people” find relief from bunions once they switch to wearing wider shoes that allow for enough toe “wiggle room,” according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS). This helps take pressure off the big toe and allows for better circulation and range of motion that stops the joint abnormality from worsening.
If you aren’t sure what type of shoes would be best for your feet and allow for a bigger “toe box,” visit a specialist at a sneaker or athletic store who can measure your feet. Some people find that shoes with laces or straps are best since these can be custom-adjusted to the width of your feet.
In addition to recommending certain shoes for relieving bunions, a pedorthist, like Jamie Dick, can also tell you what type of arches you have and therefore what types of sneakers would be best to wear when working out to prevent other common injuries, like plantar fascitis. It’s also possible to modify shoes using a stretcher to stretch out the areas that put pressure on your toes if need be.
The AAOS recommends that people with bunions “avoid shoes that are too short, tight, or sharply pointed, and those with heels higher than a couple of inches.” High heels can increase pressure in the front of the foot and lead to various foot problems in some cases.
2. Use Pads or Shoe Inserts to Correct Your Foot’s Position
Being fitted with custom foot orthotics can help correct the position of your feet and take weight off your toes. These are sometimes called “shoe inserts” and work by redistributing pressure away from the affected joint.
Some people need more heel and arch support in order to improve their feet’s range of motion and correctly balance their body weight over the entire foot. A combination of buying the right type of shoes for your feet and also adding extra support/cushion might be enough to solve the problem. While bunion pads are available in most drug stores/pharmacies, some can constrict toes even more and make the bunion bump even worse.
3. Stretch the Feet
If your toes feel stiff, stretching and moving the toe joints can help relax the foot muscle and lower joint pain. Try practicing simple bunion stretching exercises at home, such as flexing and unflexing the toes, rolling them over a tennis ball, and massaging them in your hands. To stretch your toes, point your toes straight ahead for five seconds and then curl them under for five seconds, repeating 10 times or more daily. You can also wrap a towel under your affected toe and use it to roll your toe around or stretch it forward.
4. Fix Your Form When Exercising
The American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons recommends that people prone to developing bunions avoid activities that cause increased pain, burning and worsened swelling, including standing for long periods of time or running. If you recently started a new exercise program that’s causing your feet pain or you’re experiencing signs of another running injury, poor form might be to blame. Rolling your ankles, not running with proper form and landing too hard on your toes can trigger inflammation near the big toe.
This is another scenario when proper shoes are a must. You might also want to meet with our physical therapist if you notice pain in your heels, arches or ankles since they can show you proper foot alignment and explain how to run lightly on your feet.
5. Manage Pain Naturally
When pain becomes bad, you can apply ice several times a day for 20 minutes at a time. Elevate your affected foot to help reduce swelling, and try massaging the foot with an anti-inflammatory essential oil. You can easily make a homemade muscle rub on your foot that will keep down swelling by applying essential oils, such as frankincense and peppermint oil.