A bunion refers to a bony extension that forms at the joint of the bottom of the big toe. This occurs when the big toe points towards the next toe so that the joint of the big toe protrudes and sticks out.
The main symptom associated with bunions is the presence of reddened and sore skin that covers the joint. Pain at the affected area increases with the pressure of wearing shoes. As a result of the shape of the bony deformity, it becomes difficult for affected persons to find well-fitting shoes.
Other symptoms of bunions include callus formation on the big toe, overlapping of the first two toes as well as swelling of the affected region. The exact reason why bunions occur remains unknown, but it is believed to be hereditary so that there are people for whom it is a common feature in their families.
Wearing ill-fitting shoes on a regular basis is also thought to make a significant contribution to the problem. In some cases, specific health conditions such as gout and arthritis may be to blame. There are different ways of treating bunions which can be categorized in two large groups: non surgical and surgical intervention. This post focuses on non-surgical intervention using home remedies that are easy to get at home.
NOTE: As a result of this, the rate of success differs from one person to the other. This is usually dependent on the severity of the condition alongside other pre-existing medical conditions. In the event that the bunions do not heal even after using the remedies for a considerable period of time, it becomes important to seek medical advice as such cases may require surgical intervention. The bottom line as far as concerns bunions, is that they need to be treated immediately as get progressively worse as the days go by.
1. An Ice Pack:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: A handful of ice cubes, a thin cotton towel and a foot basin.
Bunions become extremely painful and sore on days when you have been up and about for a long period of time. To eliminate this pain and soreness, one of the simplest remedies you can use is crushed ice cubes. This cold therapy works well because the low temperatures not only numb the nerve endings to reduce pain, they also alleviate the swelling associated with bunions. Note that the ice should not be used directly on the skin to avoid skin damage that results from frost bite.
- Crush the ice cubes well before placing them on a cotton towel.
- Wrap the ice cubes well so that you have a pack.
- This is the pack that you will need to rub on the affected skin.
- Do this for 10 minutes and then take a short break.
- Repeat the procedure as often as is required or until the ice cubes start melting.
- Use this remedy daily.
2. Daily Foot Exercises:
Time Required: 10-15 Min per exercise.
What You Need: A soft tennis ball and a comfortable place.
One of the causes of bunions is inflexibility within the toes. To counter this, you need to carry out regular foot exercises in order to minimize the pain as well as improve toe flexibility. This not only slows down the progress of the bunions, it also works to prevent the need for a surgical intervention.
Daily foot exercises also increase muscular strength within the muscles and feet, a factor which helps speed up the recovery process of bunions. There are different exercises you can engage in depending on your preferences and what works for you. Remember that for these exercises to be effective, you need to do them on a regular basis.
- Sit on a comfortable chair and lift the affected foot so that it is over the other foot.
- Place the affected foot in your hand and then proceed to interlock your fingers using the free hand. Do this between the toes of the affected foot.
- Press the toes forward and backwards for some 10 minutes.
- Repeat this step, only making sure you do it upwards and downwards for the same period of time.
- Do this foot exercise daily to get the most out of it.
You will need a soft tennis ball for this foot exercise
- Sit comfortably and place the tennis ball on the floor.
- Put your foot on top of the ball, doing this carefully to avoid falling. Whenever you can, perform this exercise while seated.
- Roll the ball below the joint of the toes, forwards and backwards.
- You want to focus on parts of your sole’s feet where you feel taut in order to effectively deal with inflexibility.
- Use this exercise twice daily until you notice the bunion reducing in size and with less pain.
- Stand upright and then point your toes forward for 15 seconds or so.
- Retract them so that they curl inwards for another 15 seconds.
- Do this in intervals in order to improve toe flexibility as well as help manage and treat bunions.
3. Chamomile Herbal Remedy:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Chamomile tea bag and 1 cup of warm water. You may also use chamomile essential oil and your choice carrier oil such as olive oil.
Chamomile herbal remedy is a popular solution for the natural treatment of bunions. This is because chamomile is best known for its soothing and healing properties. In addition to this, the presence of anti-inflammatory properties in the herb helps relieve pain and inflammation. Over a period of time, chamomile reduces the swelling of the bunion, thus helping shrink it. You may use either chamomile teabag or chamomile essential oil for the healing of the bunions.
Using Chamomile Essential Oil
- Mix the chamomile essential oil with the carrier oil. Olive oil is a popular choice, so you can add 3 drops of the chamomile oil to it.
- Massage the affected part of the toe with the oil mixture for 5 minutes.
- Do this daily to aid in the alignment of the big toe and to treat the bunion.
Using Chamomile Teabag
- Prepare a cup of tea as you normally would using a chamomile teabag.
- Place the teabag in the cup and pour the hot water over it.
- Let it steep for a few minutes before drinking the tea.
- Place the warm teabag on top of the bunion and massage gently.
- Use this remedy daily.
4. Aspirin Foot Soak:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 3 Aspirin tablets, a foot basin filled with warm water, olive oil and a clean towel.
Aspirin is commonly used as a painkiller, and this is what makes it ideal for the natural treatment of bunions. Its potent anti-inflammatory properties allow it to relieve the pain associated with bunions, thus reducing the stinging sensation around the affected skin. Using an aspirin foot soak also has the advantage of keeping the skin soft, thus making it less predisposed to formation of corns on the big toe.
NOTE: You need to carry a patch test first in order to prevent irritation of the skin as some people have very sensitive skin. If irritation occurs, discontinue the use of the remedy.
- Place 2 aspirin tablets in the foot basin and mix well until they are well dissolved.
- Soak the affected foot in the solution for about half an hour or until the water cools down.
- Dry your foot well and then use some olive oil to massage the foot.
- Use this remedy at least twice daily for best results.
5. Red Pepper:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: Red pepper, petroleum jelly and a gauze or thin towel.
Red pepper is known for its fiery taste, but few are aware of its healing properties. Red pepper has a potent active compound known as capsaicin. When applied on the affected skin of the bunion, the capsaicin releases is anti-inflammatory properties. This helps manage the pain and eases the discomfort. You will need some petroleum jelly and a gauze to lock in the healing properties from the red pepper.
NOTE: Just as is the case with aspirin, you need to carry out a patch test first to ascertain that your skin is not sensitive to the use of red pepper. You need to be careful that the raw red pepper does not coem into contact with the eyes and nasal membranes.
- Wash and cut the pepper in half before rubbing the fleshy part of the pepper on the bunion.
- After about 5 minutes, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the skin to prevent the juice’s active compounds from drying.
- Tie the gauze over the petroleum jelly and let it remain that way for a couple of hours.
- Use this remedy at least twice daily until the pain of the bunion is relieved.
6. Epsom Salt Foot Soak:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Cup of Epsom salt and warm water in a foot basin. You will also need a skin moisturizer.
Eposm salt has two types of salts: Magnesium and sulfates. Both of these salts come in handy in the natural treatment of bunions because they help reduce the levels of inflammation as well as provide pain relief. The salts are known to cause the skin to dry out pretty fast, so it is important to have at hand an appropriate skin moisturizer. Follow the directions below to make the best use of the Epsom salts.
- Dissolve the salts in the water and mix well for complete dissolution.
- Soak the affected feet in the foot basin for half an hour.
- Dry well and apply an appropriate skin moisturizer.
- Use this remedy twice daily until you start noticing an improvement in the condition of the bunions.
7. Castor Oil:
Time Required: 30 min
What You Need: 1 Tablespoon of castor oil, a thin cotton cloth, warm bath and a warm compress.
Castor oil is an excellent anti-inflammatory, and this is why it is used for the home treatment of bunions. When warmed and applied to the area affected by the bunion, it helps provide relief from the pain. It also goes a long way in reducing the swelling on the affected skin. Consistent use will help shrink the bunion. You will need a cotton cloth to tie and hold the castor oil. The purpose of the warm compress is to retain the heat applied as well as stimulate blood circulation in order to diminish soreness.
- Warm the castor oil in a water bath prior to application.
- Massage the warm oil on the affected skin and then wrap the cotton cloth around the affected skin.
- Cover the cloth with the warm compress to retain the heat for the reasons outlined above.
- Use this remedy thrice daily for best results.
8. Lifestyle Solutions:
Sometimes, especially in cases where bunions are mild, lifestyle solutions are the way to go. Below are some of the simple approaches you can take:
- Always purchase shoes that have a wide front and soft soles to help cushion your toes and prevent unnecessary pressure.
- It helps to check that the shoes you wear have padded inserts. This works to provide even distribution of pressure, thus reduce the chances of bunions formation.
- Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes because they add pressure to your foot.
- After a long day of been up on your feet, give your feet a break and remove your shoes from time to time.
- Shop for shoes in the afternoon when your feet have expanded as a result of the heat, and are therefore easier to conform to the shape of your feet.
Bunions are a treatable condition. With the remedies listed above, it is possible to reverse the condition and reduce the extent of the deformity. It is evident that alongside the remedies, your choice of shoes also influences the healing progress of the bunions, making the two intertwined. Remember, if the bunions do not shrink and the deformity seems to worsen, it is important that you see a foot specialist.