Bunion Treatment

Treatment for bunions requires a thorough evaluation by a podiatrist. The only way to eliminate bunions is by surgical removal (bunionectomy). Treatment usually involves applying ice to the feet for approximately 15 minutes, 3 or 4 times a day to reduce pain and swelling.

Soaking the feet in a solution of vinegar and warm water (1 cup vinegar per gallon of water) and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can also help. Due to potentially severe gastrointestinal and cardiovascular side effects, NSAIDs should only be used as instructed.

Comfortably fitting shoes are the next step. High-heeled and narrow-toed shoes should be discarded in favor of sandals or wider shoes and lower, padded heels.

Padding inside the shoe is another option, particularly if the bunion is small. Different types of pads, splints, and toe spacers are available to help prevent the big toe from angling outward and relieve pressure against the bunion while wearing shoes.

Most patients can benefit from a custom-molded orthotic, which keeps the feet properly aligned and stable, helping to prevent progression of the condition.

Publication Review By: Hai-En Peng, D.P.M.

Published: 31 Dec 1999

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2015