Do you ever worry about how pretty your feet are?
Whether your feet are visually impressive or not, the more important thing is having healthy feet, because any deformity or ailment of your feet will adversely affect your entire well-being.
Although all foot concerns deserve attention, we will limit our interest to one particularly troublesome problem that affects almost 30% of the general population–Bunions!
These seemingly insignificant bumps that appear at the base of the first toe have the potential to flare up into a severely painful and ugly medical condition over time. Hence, it is wise to take a closer look at a bunion as soon as you notice it and treat it quickly to avoid long-term complications.
The good news is that there are several home remedies that effectively arrest the growth of bunions and keep associated symptoms under control. Let us look at what they are.
10 Best Home Remedies for Bunions
Conventional medical procedures to control bunions include pain reducers and steroid therapy. However, the only permanent way to get rid of a bunion is through surgery.
Fortunately, this extreme step is necessary only when you are unable to control the progression of a bunion and the pain becomes intolerable. Here are some remedies to check the growth of bunions and their associated symptoms.
1. Get Your Weight Under Control
Haven’t you noticed how people who have excess weight often complain of swelling, painful joints and numerous other issues in their feet?
Weight gain automatically adds pressure to your lower body, especially the feet. This pressure increases chances of developing bunions. If a bunion is already present, weight gain aggravates existing symptoms.
So, if you suspect the possibility of developing a bunion or are already suffering from the condition, here is another motivating factor to reduce weight.
When you reduce your weight, you will observe that the pain and discomfort associated with bunions to drastically reduce without other interventions.
2. Ice Therapy
Not only does applying ice to the location of a bunion numb the associated pain, it also soothes inflammation and redness associated with the condition.
Do not directly apply ice to the area as it can hurt your skin. Instead, wrap few ice cubes in a towel or cloth and place it on the affected area.
You can also use an ice pack for this purpose. Place ice on the bunion for five to ten minutes at a time, to experience pain relief. Repeat the procedure as necessary at frequent intervals of time, to increase its effectiveness.
3. Regular Foot Exercises
Regular foot exercises are one of the best non-surgical ways to slow the progression of a bunion. The benefit of such exercises are increased blood circulation in the feet which will slow down the progression of bunions and improve flexibility and strength of your feet.
Try these effective exercises for help with bunions.
#1 Toe flexing
Press your toes against the wall or any hard surface and hold for ten seconds. Next, stretch them in the opposite direction and again hold the position for ten seconds. Repeat three to four times at a go.
#2 Ball roll
Stand upright or seat yourself comfortably. Then place a golf ball under a foot and slowly roll it around. Continue with this process for two minutes at a time. Alternate with both feet several times a day to relieve tension in the feet and improve blood circulation.
#3 Resistance exercises
Interlace the fingers of both hands through the gaps between your toes and hold your foot tightly within your palm. Gently stretch your leg in either direction, so you apply pressure on the foot. Continue with this process for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
#4 Toe stretches
Stand straight with your toes pointed outwards. Gently stretch your toes outwards and then curl them back for few seconds. Also raise yourself up on your toes and hold the position for few seconds before returning your soles to the ground.
4. Regular Foot Massages
The risk of developing bunions is increased when you experience a constant tightness in the soles. This condition can also cause existing bunions to become worse.
Regular foot massage helps with a range of problems affecting the feet, bunions being one of them. When you thoroughly massage your foot, blood circulation increases in the area. This helps to alleviate discomfort like pain and swelling.
- Press your thumbs beneath the mounds of your toes to release the muscles in this area.
- Massage downwards from the base of each toe to the arch and continue all the way down to your heel.
- Repeat for all toes.
- Next, cup your heel and pull each toe forward. This will help to stretch the fingers and alleviate the tension here.
TIP: You can also use natural oils like coconut oil or castor oil and aromatic oils like frankincense to enhance the efficiency of a foot massage. Repeat this several times a week and you will see significant improvement in the condition.
5. Wide Shoes
Shoes that are narrow in the toe area can trigger the formation of bunions. These shoes automatically increase the stress on the big toe. Switching to wider shoes will immediately take away the pressure from your big toe and reduce your risk of developing a bunion.
Opt for shoes with wiggle room in the toes to allow your feet to relax and breathe. Wider shoes are also recommended by podiatrists and orthopedic surgeons for improving blood circulation in the feet and reducing discomforts caused by joint abnormalities.
If your bunions are causing severe pain, you may also like to consider orthopedic shoes. The loose and comfortable fit of these shoes helps to eliminate pressure points in the feet, while stretchable uppers allow these shoes to adjust to the natural shape of the foot during movement.
6. Suitable Shoe Inserts
Alignment issues can cause bunions to appear over time, especially in people with flat feet. Over-the-counter shoe inserts can help you counter this problem.
You may like to consider wearing toe spacers inside your shoes, if your big toe tends to rub against the second one. However, make sure that your shoes are wide enough to accommodate a toe spacer, when you opt for this method.
If you have flat feet, arch support insoles will help with alignment and flexibility issues and ease blood circulation in your feet.
When a bunion progresses to make the toe appear misshapen, doctors usually recommend wearing a splint at night to hold the toe straight and prevent the bunion from growing.
However, it isn’t a permanent cure as the benefits apply only while you are wearing the toe splint. Nonetheless, toe splints help to tolerate pain and realign the toe during the duration of use.
7. Warm Salt Soaks
Warm salt soaks are extremely useful in case of bunions caused by arthritis and similar medical conditions. Salts with high magnesium content, like Epsom salt, are best suited for this purpose.
- Prepare the mixture by adding three teaspoons of Epsom salt to a basin of lukewarm water.
- Mix it thoroughly so it fully dissolves in the water.
- Place your feet in this basin and let it sit till the water turns cold.
- Repeat this process up to three times a week.
An Epsom salt soak can also help with other conditions that affect feet, like inflammation caused by corns and calluses.
Turmeric is a powerful natural herb that has been used for ages to treat various medical conditions. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. It helps to treat inflammation and reduce pain.
To use turmeric to get rid of bunions, make a paste of high quality turmeric powder with olive oil or coconut oil. Apply this paste to the affected region and let it sit till it completely dries. Wash it off with lukewarm water.
By continuously applying turmeric to bunions, you will observe that inflammation in this region reduces and the pain subsides over time.
To further enhance the effectiveness of this magical herb, you can also consume turmeric powder with milk or take curcumin extract tablets daily.
9. Herbal Remedies like Chamomile and Calendula
Chamomile is another amazing natural herb that soothes inflammation and reduces pain. Drink chamomile tea to heal your bunion from inside.
The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine also recommends applying spent chamomile tea bags to the bunion. You can also use chamomile extract in the form of an ointment in its place.
Another way to use chamomile on bunions is to prepare a paste of dried chamomile leaves with water and leave it on your bunions to take effect.
In the Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook, Dr. James. A. Duke recommends calendula ointments to help with bunions. Directly apply the juice from crushed calendula leaves to enjoy similar benefits with bunions.
10. Avoid High-heels
If you are a big fan of stilettoes, you should know that those cute looking high-heeled shoes could be the culprit behind those agonizing bunions.
When women compromise comfort for the sake of fashion, the results are often disastrous and result in long-term health problems. Continued use of high-heels are one of the main reasons why women are more susceptible to developing bunions when compared to men.
Should you see the signs of a bunion developing in your feet, it is a good idea to take off your high-heel shoes and invest in comfortable moderate to low-heels instead. Shoes with laces or straps and form-adjusting shoes can relieve the pain and discomfort you experience with a bunion.
Additionally, take care to always buy the right shoe size since shoes of smaller sizes can constrict your feet and trigger the appearance of a bunion.
Also, pay attention to the material that your shoe is made of. Shoes of soft, natural materials like leather and fabric with cushioned soles are better suited for this condition, as they do not stifle movement.
What Causes Bunions in the First Place?
If you run your palm along your foot on the side of your big toe, you should feel a joint just at its base. Bunions are formed at this location where the toe bends when you walk.
They are caused by excess bone growth in this area that pushes the big toe towards the adjacent toe. This happens due to genetic and medical conditions that affect the structure of your feet, like
- A faulty bone structure that makes the toe joint unstable and prone to excessive weight bearing
- Foot injuries
- Genetic conditions like weak connective tissue, short calf muscles or Achilles’ tendon
- Medical conditions like arthritis, polio and lupus
More details about these conditions are available here.
There is a huge misconception that bunions are caused by ill-fitting shoes.
Improper choice of footwear doesn’t directly cause a bunion to form. When you add wrong footwear to this equation, it adds excessive strain the toe joint and causes a bunion to appear.
The problem with bunions is that they tend to grow in size and turn painful as you age. So, even if it doesn’t trouble you right now, it can become an irritating problem in the future unless you keep it from progressing.
Bunions are barely noticeable when they first appear. However, over time and as you age, bunions can cause a whole lot of pain and may even require surgery to correct. Not to mention, it can make your feet appear distorted, ugly and result in irreversible scar tissue formation in the foot.
Fortunately, the progression of a bunion can be arrested by simple home remedies. They hardly cost anything and are very easy to do. It is just a matter of finding the right option for you and sticking with it. So, don’t ever disregard the presence of a bunion on your feet. Whether it is through regular foot exercises and massages or herbal remedies and choice of right footwear, take the first step to get this condition under check and prevent it from becoming a serious concern over time.