Bunions are red, painful and bony lumps that develop on the side or the base of the big toe causing it to tilt inwards. They mainly occur due to swelling in the bursa, a fluid filled sac that protects and cushions the toe bone. The condition is also called Bunionette or Tailor’s Bunion. Another painful condition associated with bunions is hammertoes. Hammertoes are characterized by a permanent swelling in the middle joint of the toes which causes abrasion and pain when you wear shoes or walk. In this guide, we will study important home remedies to help you prevent tailor’s bunion surgery and fix bunions and hammertoes pain.
1. Change your shoes
The most common cause of painful bunions are improper shoes. If you are wearing shoes that are a size too small, it is time to change them. Our feet continue to grow a few millimeters each year despite adulthood. So, we need to change our shoes annually. The shoe size you wore in the 20s can be nearly half your shoe size in the 40s. Invest in a good pair of comfortable shoes that do not put pressure on the toes. Get professional fitters to measure your feet when buying the shoes. This remedy is also a preventive one in case you are prone to painful tailor’s bunions.
2. Stretch existing shoes
If you are reluctant to buy a new pair of shoes, get the existing pair stretched out at a foot repair shop. Get the shoe stretched in the areas that put pressure on the toes. Your healthcare professional or podiatrist can also recommend shoe professionals to help you.
3. Women-avoid high heels
Bunions are more common in women than in men on account of the heels they wear. Always choose low heel or flats. Avoid high heels which put more pressure on the toes.
4. Foot orthotics or shoe inserts can help
Foot inserts or custom made foot orthotics can slow down bunions from enlarging or worsening. They work by preventing pronation (rotation or flattening of the arch) of the bunions and prevent worsening of bunions. Do check your local pharmacy too-most also carry bunion pads which are donut shaped pads to cushion the bunions and prevent rubbing and irritation.
5. Try an Aspirin foot bath soak
In case of severe pain or irritation, try a simple foot soak. Fill up a basil or footbath with hot water (as much as you can tolerate). Add crushed aspirin tablets (up to 6 tablets) to the bath. Soak your feet in this medicated pain-relief bath for at least 20 minutes or until the water cools. Do this every night before bed to stop pain.
6. Apply rice or grain pack compress
Rice is a nice remedy to get rid of tailor’s bunions. Fill up an old sock with rice or any other grain like wheat etc. Place the sock in the microwave and heat on full power for up to 60 seconds. Apply the heated sock to the painful bunions to get rid of pain and swelling. Repeat the treatment each time the pain flares up. Ice and cold compresses can also help.
7. Wear arch supports at home too
The key to getting rid of painful bunions is to alleviate pressure from the big toe. This can be done using arch supports which are inserted inside comfortable sandals. Wear these at home instead of wearing regular slippers or walking barefoot. Orthaheel Sandal Wave Flip Flops are great.
8. Use medicated gel pads
Medicated gel pads can be fitted over the foot and worn comfortably inside the shoes. They help relieve pressure off the toes and prevent friction and rubbing. Talk to your podiatrist about Bunion care sleeves or silicone bunion shields.
9. Massage your bunions daily
Use a medicated pain relief cream or gel to massage the bunions. You can also use essential oils diluted with coconut oil. Warm up the coconut oil and add a few drops of wintergreen essential oil or peppermint essential oil. These mentholated oils have analgesic action that stops the pain. Cold therapy relief gels can also be used.
10. Use bunion splints in between the toes
The idea is to keep the toes straight-so insert specially made bunion splints in between the big toe and the one following that. This will keep the toes straight and prevent pressure on the big toe that causes bunion pain to worsen.
11. Reduce inflammation in the body
Drink a glass of diluted apple cider vinegar in water each morning to reduce inflammation and make the body more alkaline. Also eat more alkaline foods like fruits and vegetables. Avoid acidic food like sugar, refined carbs, sodas, red meat, etc.
If these 11 home remedies to get rid of bunions fail, then you might want to consider tailor bunion surgery. Talk to a board certified podiatrist to guide you.