Best Treatment Options for Bunion

The best treatment for a bunion depends on the severity of the condition and the amount of pain and discomfort it is causing. Bunions don’t go away. Treatment often focuses on relieving symptoms and may include:

  • Bunion pads and taping: Over-the-counter bunion pads can cushion the area and ease pain. You can also use medical tape to keep the foot in the correct position.
  • Footwear changes: Switching to shoes with wide, deep toe boxes can take pressure off of your toes. You may be able to use a stretching device to widen shoes you already own.
  • Orthotic devices: Over-the-counter or custom-made shoe inserts (orthotics) can help to control alignment issues such as pronation that may be contributing to bunion formation. You can also place a spacer between the big toe and second digit. Some people find relief by wearing a splint at night to keep the big toe straight.
  • Pain relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) both oral and topical can be combined with ice packs help with pain and swelling.
  • Physical therapy: Massage, physical therapy and ultrasound therapy can break up soft-tissue adhesions to reduce pain and inflammation. There are actually exercises that can help improve muscle strength around the bunion and can modestly improve alignment.
  • Injections: Steroid injections may reduce pain and swelling but may also be damaging if used too often or injected into the joint itself. This is often a late treatment of bunions when trying to avoid surgery.
  • Surgery: If nonsurgical treatments don’t help, and walking becomes extremely painful, your provider may recommend surgery. This procedure is called a bunionectomy. Your provider removes the bunion and realigns bones to bring the big toe back into the correct position.

It’s important to consult with a foot and ankle specialist to determine the best course of treatment for your bunion. They will take into account your overall health and medical history, as well as the severity of your bunion when recommending a treatment plan.