All I can say is ouch.
Many women have had a bunion at least once in their lifetime — a deformity of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint at the base of the big toe. A bunion develops when the first metatarsal bone of the foot turns outward and the big toe points inward (toward the other toes), causing the joint to jut out.
Most shoes don’t accommodate the newly formed mass and so it puts pressure on the misaligned joint. Eventually, the bursa (a fluid-filled sac that surrounds and cushions the joint) becomes inflamed, and the entire joint becomes stiff and painful.
In summary, a bunion is the result of a deformity in the joint of your big toe. The exact cause isn’t clear.
However, possible causes may include:
- genetics (family history)
- other conditions and syndromes – such as cerebral palsy and Marfan syndrome
- poorly fitting shoes
Home Remedies That Ease the Symptoms of Bunions
One way to prevent the onset of this deformity and alleviate the pain is by massaging the affected part. In this way, you will improve the blood circulation and provide relief from the discomfort.
By regular massaging, you will reduce the size of the deformity and prevent the formation of calluses and corns. Rub some olive, castor or coconut oil on the bunion. With your fingers, do some deep-friction massage for about 10 minutes. Practice this massage 2-3 times a day.
When exposed to prolonged standing, bunions become sore and inflamed. Ice is one good method that will ease the pain and inflammation since the cold numbs the nerves and provides relief.
Wrap some crushed ice in a thin towel. Place the towel on the bunion and let it stay for 5-10 minutes. After a 10-minute break, repeat the method for 2-3 times. Practice this method when needed.
Turmeric is another natural remedy that can treat bunions. Curcumin, the key component in turmeric is rich in anti-inflammatory and pain-blocking properties. Another benefit of turmeric is that can be used both orally and topically.
Oral use: Mix one teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of milk or lukewarm water. Drink this combination two times a day.
Topical use: Mix a little olive oil and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and make a fine paste. Apply the paste on the bunion. Do this 2-3 times a day for a few days.
Also, you can take curcumin capsules (we recommend this), three times a day but make sure you consult your doctor before taking it.
4. Foot Exercises
You can improve your toe flexibility and reduce the pain with some regular exercises. In this way, you will slow down the progression of the bunion and prevent any surgery. Not only your feet will benefit from these daily exercises but also the legs and muscles.
Start in a sitting position and place a golf or tennis ball beneath the painful foot. Roll the ball whenever you feel tightness. Practice this exercise for 5-10 minutes every day.
Again, start in a sitting position but cup the sole of your foot in your palm. Interlace the fingers of your free hand with the toes of your foot. Then bend your toes upward and downward, back and forth for 5-10 minutes.
Stand up and keep your toes straight ahead for 10 seconds then curl them for another 10 seconds. Do this exercise several times. There are many more exercises that you can do at home.
5. Epsom Salt
In the case of bunions resulting from arthritis, Epsom salt can relieve the pain. Epsom salt is packed with high amounts of magnesium which regulates the pH levels in the body and fights pain and inflammation.
A warm Epsom salt soak will effectively treat your calluses and corns, the common symptoms of bunions.
Add a handful of Epsom salt (we recommend this) into a small tub full of warm water. Soak the painful foot until the water is cold. After the foot is dry, massage it with warm coconut or olive oil. Practice this method three times per week.
When you hear chamomile, the first thing that will come to your mind is probably the soothing effect it has. In the case of bunions, chamomile is a highly effective herb that can relieve the pain.
This is due to the strong anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation, pain and it can even shrink bunions. So, try some of these natural remedies or make a combination of them:
Make some chamomile tea and sip it while it is still warm. Place the chamomile bag directly on the bunion. Do this 3-4 times a day.
Every night before going to bed, massage the affected area with carrier or chamomile essential oil (we recommend this). In this way, you will improve the toe alignment.
To reduce the inflammation and pain, apply some chamomile ointment directly on the bunion.
7. Anti-Inflammatory Foods
When it comes to bunions, the food plays an important role. So, it is of crucial importance to take care of the food you consume. Some foods will contribute to inflammation while other will prevent and fight inflammation.
Pro-inflammatory foods include processed meat, red meat, whey protein, refined sugar, corn oil, eggs, refined grains and refined salt. Anti-inflammatory foods include salmon, olives, turmeric, ginger, tart cherries, garlic, blueberries, strawberries, sweet potatoes, and walnuts.
Along with the anti-inflammatory foods, enrich your diet with more proteins as well as food rich in vitamins A, C, E, and B complex.
8. Proper Footwear
Footwear is one important reason that can lead to the development of a bunion. So, to minimize the risk of bunions, pay attention to your footwear.
Always choose the footwear with broad toes, wide front, and soft soles. Use some padded shoe inserts to distribute pressure evenly. When having a bunion, choose some shoes with wide and deep toe area. Sandals are always the best choice.
Avoid shoes with a heel higher than 2 ¼ inches. Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes for more than 3 hours. Opt for footwear that suits to the shape of your feet.
Do not force your foot in some show that does not fit.
Avoid tight stockings and socks. During the day, remove your shoes periodically.