Many people believe the only way to deal with a bunion is through surgery, and that’s true to a point. Once the bump begins to form and the toe begins to drift out of alignment, surgery is the only way to reverse its course in terms of the physical appearance of the deformity. However, that doesn’t mean surgery is the only, or even the best, way to deal with a budding bunion.
As a matter of fact, there are many very good conservative treatment options for bunions. The main goal of conservative treatment is to prevent worsening of the deformity, prevent or relieve painful symptoms, and allow you to enjoy a full range of physical activities without being restricted or impaired by your bunion. If this can be accomplished conservatively, there is no real need for surgery.
Some of the conservative treatment options we use include:
- Roomier shoes. Comfortable, supportive shoes with a wider toe box can accommodate the bunion and avoid painful friction. At The Right Shoe, our team of experts can help you pick out functional, fashionable styles for a variety of activities.
- Better supports. Sometimes, just a roomier toe box isn’t quite enough. A carefully selected prefabricated insert, or a custom orthotic fitted by our podiatry team, can provide the extra cushioning, support, and stability for your toe joint you need to relieve pressure and prevent further progression of the deformity.
- Padding. As an extra defense against friction between the outside of the bunion bump and the inside of your shoe, you may wish to use a nonmedicated bunion pad.
- Physical therapy. Regular exercises can help you improve the stability of the toe joint, as well as strengthen the muscles and ligaments supporting the toes and forefoot. This helps you ease discomfort and better prevent continued deterioration of the joint and worsening of the deformity. Our team can help you devise an appropriate list of exercises.
- Pain relievers. At home, this might include an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or an ice pack. If your pain is more intense, we can prescribe tougher medication or provide an injection of cortisone.