A bunion is an unnatural, bony bump at the base of the big toe where it attaches to the foot. It develops when the pressure of your body’s weight persistently falls unevenly on the joints and tendons in your foot, causing the joint of the big toe to get bigger and stick out.
Anyone can develop bunions, but women are more prone to this bone deformity than men.
Experts believe that wearing tight, high-heeled or too-narrow shoes contribute to the development of these bony bumps.
Other possible factors are your inherited foot type, foot injuries and certain foot deformities present at birth. Certain types of arthritis can also increase the risk of developing bunions.
Because a bunion occurs at a joint, it can cause extreme pain while walking as well as reduced flexibility of your big toe.
Other symptoms include irritated skin around the bunion, joint redness and pain, corns or calluses, blisters at the affected site and possibly a shift of the big toe toward the other toes. It can even make it more difficult to find shoes that fit properly.
Bunions are progressive and usually get worse over time. Some natural treatments can help address symptoms, but they cannot correct the actual deformity. In cases of severe discomfort, surgery may be needed to correct the problem.
Here are some home remedies to help ease the symptoms of bunions.
Bunions often become sore and inflamed after you have been on your feet for too long. To relieve pain and inflammation, ice therapy is a good option. The cold temperature temporarily numbs the nerve endings and provides pain relief.
- Put a handful of crushed ice in a thin towel and wrap it.
- Place it on the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Take a break for 10 minutes and repeat the procedure 2 or 3 more times.
- Use this simple remedy as needed.
Massaging the affected area daily is a popular way to alleviate as well as prevent this problem. This therapeutic method helps increase blood circulation to the area and provides relief from the general discomforts.
Regular massage will even reduce the size of the bunion and make the affected area less susceptible to corns and calluses.
- Rub some warm castor, olive, or coconut oil on the affected area.
- Using your fingers, do deep-friction massage for 10 minutes.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times daily.
You can always seek assistance from an experienced massage therapist to help slow down or reverse the formation of the bunion.
3. Foot Exercises
In many cases, exercising your foot can help reduce the pain and promote toe flexibility. It can also slow down the progression of your bunion, thus preventing the need for surgery.
Daily exercise also helps strengthen the muscles of the legs and feet and may prevent bunions from developing.
Sit on a chair and place your foot on a tennis or golf ball. Roll the ball beneath the mounds of the toes, then anywhere else on the sole that feels tight. Do it for 5 to 10 minutes daily.
Sitting on a chair, cup the sole of the affected foot in your palm, then interlace the fingers of your free hand between the toes of your foot. Bend the toes back and forth, upward and then downward, for 5 to 10 minutes.
Stand up straight and point your toes straight ahead for 10 seconds, then curl them under for 10 seconds. Repeat several times.
These are just some exercises that you can easily do at home. There are many more helpful exercises that you can learn from an expert.
4. Epsom Salt
For bunions due to arthritis, you can try an Epsom salt soak to alleviate the pain. The high magnesium content in Epsom salt helps regulate the pH levels in the body, which is essential to fight inflammation and pain.
A warm Epsom salt soak will also take care of corns and calluses, common symptoms associated with bunions.
- Pour some warm water into a small tub.
- Add a handful of Epsom salt to the water and stir thoroughly.
- Soak your foot in it until the water is cold.
- Dry your foot thoroughly, then massage with warm olive or coconut oil.
- Do this up to 3 times each week.
You can also use turmeric to treat bunions. Its key component, curcumin, has pain-blocking ability and also helps reduce inflammation. Turmeric can be used topically as well as orally.
- For topical use, make a paste of ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder and a little olive oil. Apply it directly on your bunion. Repeat 2 or 3 times daily for several days.
- For oral use, stir 1 teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of lukewarm water or milk and drink it twice daily.
- You can also take 400 mg curcumin capsules, 3 times a day. However, consult your doctor before starting a supplement.
Chamomile is a popular and effective herbal remedy that can provide relief from bunion issues. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce pain and inflammation. It may even help shrink bunions.
You can try any of these remedies or a combination of them:
- Brew a cup of tea using a chamomile tea bag and sip it while it is still warm. Also, put the used tea bag directly on your bunion. Use this home treatment 3 or 4 times a day.
- Massage the affected area with chamomile essential oil mixed in a carrier oil every night before going to bed. This will help improve the alignment of the toe.
- You can even apply some over-the-counter ointment that contains chamomile on the affected area to reduce pain and inflammation.