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How are bunions treated?

To help treat bunions, warm soaks or ice packs, along with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), should relieve pain. When you're on the go, protect the bunion with a moleskin pad or a semi-soft orthotic insert placed in your shoe. Wearing sneakers, running shoes, or shoes with roomy toes is essential.

A bunionectomy, sometimes accompanied by cutting and repositioning foot bones, is usually successful. Recovery may take six months and require wearing a cast or special shoes.

Dr. James P. Ioli, DPM
Podiatrist (Foot Specialist)

Mild and moderate bunions may not hurt, but severe bunions—in which the protuberance is large and the big toe slants noticeably toward the others—usually do. Only a doctor can determine the severity of your bunion, but if it hurts, take action. To deal with pain, especially when the bunion or bunionette is inflamed, try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) pain relievers. Hot and cold compresses may also help. If these steps don't work, and you are still experiencing significant pain that interferes with daily activities, you may need to consider surgery to restore the toe to its normal position. Surgery is a major step that does not always eliminate all symptoms and will require you to stay off your foot for 6 to 12 weeks.

Here's what you should do if you have a bunion:

  • Wear shoes with a wide area in the toe.
  • Put a support in your shoe that will take pressure off of your bunion.
  • Strengthen toe muscles.
  • Get surgery, called a bunionectomy, to remove the bunion.

This answer provided for NATA by the Eastern University Athletic Training Education Program.

Bunions can be treated surgically or by shoe padding.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.