How To Relieve Bunion Pain?

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A bunion is a soft tissue deformity at the base of your big toe that can cause relapsing or persistent inflammation. The bunion is derived from a word that means bump, hence its appearance on the side of your foot. It causes extreme pain that can possibly lead to arthritis. Good news is there are actually ways on how to relieve bunion pain at home.

Important Tips In Relieving Bunion Without Surgery

Here are some essential guidelines you can follow when treating your bunion without medication.

Soak Your Feet First

The first thing to do is to soak. Nothing handles irritated feet better than a warm soak that can soothe sores. A clean basin will suffice; no need to have an actual foot spa at home.

Grab your favorite bath salts (Epsom salt is more advisable) and pour a few tablespoons into a basin filled with lukewarm water. The volume of the water must be enough to cover your ankle. Soak your feet for about 15 minutes or until the water cools down.

If you’re wondering, Epsom salt can be found easily in first aid supplies stores.

Toe Stretching

Sometimes all it takes is a little exercise to alleviate the pain. You can address your toes along with sore joints with a stretching exercise. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Seat in a comfortable chair
  2. Using your hands, reach and grasp your toe
  3. If you’re not flexible enough, use a strap
  4. Now pull your toe towards you
  5. Hold the position for about half-a-minute
  6. Repeat numerous time
  7. Stop when the pain worsens

Topical Analgesic

You can also browse online for some topical pain relief creams and gels. It’s important to have something that is rich in menthol and similar ingredients.

Menthol can give you a satisfying, cooling sensation. There are also products that contain a chili-pepper-derived compound that can block the pain signals into the specific area where you apply it. Zostrix, for instance, is a popular product having this compound (called capsaicin).

Toe Spacer

You can also use a toe spacer or a bunion relief splint. These devices can help in relieving the inflammation and pain. They alleviate the condition by reducing the toe joint’s stress.

Wearing Practical Shoes

You already know the vital preliminary tips in relieving bunion; now it’s time for the real deal. The next step is to find yourself some sensible shoes.

Footwear is the biggest factor affecting this condition. Unless you love “grounding” and prefer walking in barefoot in the first place, then this has nothing to do with it.

Even though bunion is genetic, your footwear is a great factor that triggers the said condition. Shoes, especially pointed ones, are proven to exacerbate the issue. You can also safely conclude that women are more prone to bunions because of the type of shoes they tend to wear.

Square or Round Toe Box

Start by switching to more comfortable shoes that offer more room, enough to wiggle your toes. When you have a bunion (or attempts to prevent it), shoes with a square toe box is ideal. You can also go for something round, as long it’s not pointed enough.

No Heels

As much as possible try to ignore your stilettos for the meantime. Switch to a footwear having no more than an inch of heels. If you can’t live without heels, then at least try something that’s relatively wide.

Right Materials

Avoid shoes that cause your feet to sweat, consequently promoting bunion. Go for shoes that feature soft leather and refrain from wearing those composed of synthetic materials.

No seams

Do not wear shoes that have seams in the toe box. The seams can rub against your feet. The friction will irritate bunions and can worsen it.


It’s really not bad to seek medication. Scientists work hard formulating these things for the betterment of everyone’s living.

Medical drugs that help relieve bunion pain include naproxen, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen. These oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or topical medication are effective in controlling the condition.

Applying Ice

The extremely cold temperature of ice is enough to constrict your blood vessels, numbing the pain and relieving the swelling in the process.

Just grab your ice bag, put some ice, and apply on the affected area for up to 20 minutes or until the ice subsides.

If you have no ice bag, substitute it with a paper towel or a thin cloth then use it to wrap the ice.


Orthotics is the solution to preventing bunion to form. These molded shoe inserts will correct the feet mechanics that promote the condition to occur.

Proper orthotics is capable of limiting abnormal pronation. As a result, you can expect your foot bones and big toe joint to stabilize.

It’s like shooting two birds with one stone. Orthotics can prevent minimize bunion pain and at the same time, it can avert the condition from progressing.

Bunion Corrector / Protective Pads

These are like a specialized ring for the big toe that keeps friction from happening. Protective pads serve as cushioning that prevents the bunion from worsening by protecting it from friction with a moleskin pad or gel.

You can also go for medicated pads that are coated with some type of acid that can “eat away” the bunion.

Splint And Braces

This one can also be worn inside your shoes. It’s similar to protective pads but is quite bigger. It may not hold the promise of correcting your bunion, splint and braces can sure move your toe into the right position.

When your toe is in a constant, proper position, the tension on the toe muscles and tendon are effectively relieved.


Learning how to relieve bunion pain is an essential knowledge you can incorporate in battling this condition. It’s indeed a good news that you can put an end to your situation without any surgery or some sort. If all else fails, or if you want an immediate action, you can always visit your doctor and have the affected area injected with cortisone to quickly alleviate discomfort and swelling.

Pamela Couch

I am a designer, shoe-obsessed lifestyle expert, and founder of, a shoe boutique located in Downtown Atlanta. I love shoes and I love being able to share my passion for them with others.