How to Get Rid of Bunions Without Surgery

Bunions are a common and progressive deformity caused by a structural abnormality in the foot. Over time, they appear as an increasingly large bump on the side of the foot or at the base of the big toe. Early bunions cause no symptoms, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, but as the condition progresses, pain, inflammation, burning and numbness typically develop. Treatment is with lifestyle modifications and over-the-counter medications. Surgery is only recommended when a bunion causes significant pain or interferes with daily functioning.

A woman has pads on her feet. Credit: Iskandarov/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Change your shoes. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends shoes with broad toes, wide insteps and soft soles. Never wear shoes that are too small, and check your shoe size every few years to make certain a size adjustment is not needed. Avoid wearing high heels and shoes with pointed toes, as both can cause or worsen bunions.

Step 2

Place pads over your bunion to ease pain and reduce pressure on the affected joint. Bunion pads are available at most pharmacies and retail stores.

Step 3

Rest your feet often throughout the day, especially if you spend a lot of time standing. Standing puts pressure on your bunion, increasing pain and inflammation. Whenever possible, sit down for 10 or 15 minutes and take your shoes off.

Step 4

Take over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as naproxen or ibuprofen, as needed. These medications will reduce inflammation and minimize pain. Prescription medications are available if over-the-counter drugs are not strong enough to control your pain.

Step 5

Apply an ice pack to your bunion several times throughout the day. Icing your foot will reduce pain and swelling, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Step 6

Undergo injections of corticosteroids if your bursa is inflamed. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that surrounds and protects your joint. The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons states that corticosteroid injections are not always necessary or recommended for bunions.

Things You'll Need

  • Bunion pads

  • Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory

  • Ice pack

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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