Bunions, also known as “hallux valgus,” are among the most common foot problems reported by adults nationwide. Bunions are an irregularity of the foot that can cause a lot of pain and affect how you walk; thankfully, there are ways of treating bunions at home to bring relief to symptoms. If you’re wondering how to treat bunions at home, our quick guide can help you learn more about bunions and understand your treatment options.
What are bunions and what causes them?
The most pronounced symptom of a bunion is the swelling and jutting out of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe. Triggered either hereditarily or by wearing constricting shoes, the first metatarsal joint will point away from the foot while the big toe, instead of facing straight ahead, will begin to point inward toward the other toes. This malformation will cause stiffness of the joint, and, over time, become painful. If not brought relief, bunions have the potential of harming other toes of the foot. While common, certain factors can increase your risk of developing bunions:
- A family history of bunions
- Improperly fitting footwear (narrow, tight or high-heeled shoes)
- Jobs with long periods of standing or walking, causing excess strain on the feet
- Flat feet, loose ligaments, or rigid Achilles tendons
- Neuromuscular and connective tissue disorders such as Marfan or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Congenital foot irregularities and certain kinds of foot injuries
- Rheumatoid arthritis
What are the symptoms of a bunion?
It’s often easy to identify bunions by the telltale pain experienced while walking. With the bones of the big toe misaligned, if not provided the proper support, the joint’s continuing pressure can interfere with everyday activities. You may experience other noticeable symptoms:
- Redness, inflammation, and swelling around the joint
- Calluses and corns on the protruding joint
- Stiffness in the big toe
- The skin around the toe tender to the touch
- If left untreated, a bunion can cause the big toe to shift sideways until it’s closer to the second toe. This impacts your ability to find shoes that fit, but it can also affect your balance and gait. To lessen or avoid the pain, you may unconsciously shift the way you walk. Eventually, this may cause pain from the added stress on your knees, hips, and lower back.
Can you treat bunions at home?
You have several options for bunion treatment at home. The goal is to improve support and structure while relieving the pain. Foot and toe-stretching exercises can reduce your pain and increase strength, stability, and flexibility. Wearing splints at night can assist in realigning the toe. Since flat feet can make bunions worse, wearing arch supports corrects this condition and aids in recovery. Select a more supportive and wide fit shoe as not to put added pressure on the bunion.
Treating bunions at home focuses on pain and discomfort relief. For inflamed bunions, elevating your foot for 15 minutes every two hours can reduce the swelling. Cold compresses are also ideal: You can place ice in a plastic bag and wrap it with a clean cloth. Applying cold compresses several times a day targets the inflammation and alleviates the discomfort. Nonsteroidal oral anti-inflammatory medications are useful for diminishing both the pain and swelling.
What other kinds of bunion treatments exist?
If you suspect that you have a bunion, consult with our podiatrists. Arizona Foot Doctors offers several non-invasive treatment options to help you find relief and restore your foot’s form and function. Our non-surgical approach includes several therapeutic methods, but it also focuses on preventative measures:
After your initial consultation and gentle foot screening, we’ll design a therapy plan that fits your needs. Following this plan, you can continue your life as usual while making the changes needed to correct the problem. Should you decide if surgery is right for you, Arizona Foot Doctors will give you vital information about procedures, recovery time, and costs.
If you notice that your bunion symptoms or pain is getting worse, stop exploring how to treat bunions at home and contact the experts at Arizona Foot Doctors immediately.
Your foot care specialists in Scottsdale
Arizona Foot Doctors delivers conservative and effective foot care with a compassionate, transparent, and ethical approach. Our goal is to provide the best treatment possible through cutting edge methods and therapy plans that fit each patient’s schedule and needs. To assist in treating bunions, we offer physical therapy plans, orthotics, surgery, and tips for bunion treatment at home. If you have concerns about your foot health, contact us today to get the support you need.