Ramsay Health UK | 2/08/2022

How to get rid of bunions

A bunion is a bony lump that forms on the side of your foot, typically at the big toe joint. Severe bunions cause symptoms such as pain, swelling, hard skin, and limited movement of the big toe.

Over time, severe bunions may begin to affect your mobility and limit your day-to-day activities, but there are steps you can take to help manage the condition so you can continue doing the things you love.

What causes a bunion?

There are several reasons why a bunion may form. Some bunions are caused by tight, ill-fitting shoes, while others result from genetics or structural problems with the foot itself.

Bunions may also occur due to foot trauma or arthritis in the toe joint.

You may be at increased risk of developing bunions if you have connective tissue disorders or neuromuscular problems, as both conditions are associated with loose ligaments and flexible joints.

Can bunions go away?

Unfortunately, bunions do not go away on their own. The only way to permanently remove a bunion is with surgery.

Can bunions be straightened without surgery?

Some products, such as bunion toe spacers and splints, may temporarily separate the big toe from the second toe to help straighten the joint. These products may also help reduce bunion pain and inflammation. However, these are only temporary measures, and the joint will revert back to how it was once the spacer or splint is removed.

The only way to permanently straighten the toe joint is with surgery.

How to manage bunions

Depending on the severity of your bunion, non-surgical treatments may help you manage the condition.

Non-surgical bunion treatment options include:

Wider fitting shoes Investing in shoes with a wider toe box may help reduce bunion soreness and inflammation as your toes have plenty of room to move around without feeling restricted. Avoid heeled shoes if you can, as they can place additional pressure on your toes and bunion.

Custom orthotics Your podiatrist can make recommendations regarding custom orthotics which can help provide additional support to your feet and reduce pain.

Bunion pads Some find relief using bunion pads. They are usually made from gel or moleskin and create a barrier between your bunion and your shoes to prevent rubbing.

Pain-relief methods Taking pain medication such as paracetamol and ibuprofen may help if your bunion is severe. Alternatively, placing an ice pack wrapped in a towel over the bunion can also help reduce pain and inflammation.

How to get rid of bunions

If non-surgical treatments haven’t helped, or if your bunion is severe, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. Bunion surgery is the only way to get rid of bunions permanently.

Different surgery options are available depending on the type and severity of bunion you have. Some involve removing part of the bone in your big toe to correct the alignment, while in other cases, soft tissue around the big toe may also need repairing. Pins, plates and screws may also be required to hold it in place. It can take up to three months for normal functioning to return following bunion surgery.

Your podiatrist or surgeon will advise you on the most appropriate form of surgery for you.

At Ramsay, we understand the pain and discomfort bunions can cause, which is why we have a team of expert podiatrists and orthopaedic surgeons who can recommend a bunion treatment that is right for you.

If you need bunion surgery, we work with some of the UK’s most qualified and experienced surgeons, physiotherapists and pain management specialists to give you the holistic care and support you need to recover as quickly as possible.

Please contact us if you would like more information.

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