Bunions The pain:
A painful, red, swollen protrusion that juts out from the base of the big toe.
The cause: A bunion is a troublesome growth of bone on the outside of the big toe. Pain comes from walking improperly or because your shoe is pressing against that out-of-place bone. If you’re under 30, chances are your bunions are inherited and they’re difficult to get rid of. Poor-fitting shoes don’t cause bunions, but can exacerbate the problem.
See a doctor if: your bunions hurt every day, even with property fitting shoes. the pain limits your activities. your big toe is hitting or hiding under your second toe, or you can’t bend your big toe. … your bunion is paired with a callus on the inside of your big toe or on the ball of your foot. A callus indicates that your body weight is not being properly transferred to your other joints, a condition that can be remedied with orthotics.
Podiatrists can prescribe orthotic devises for people who are bunion-prone that can help prevent bunions from developing. Surgery, a long-term solution, takes only 30-40 minutes. Generally, you’ll be walking within a day or two.
Relax a bunion’s tender spot. Put the tip of your middle finger on the underside of the ball of the big toe that has the bunion. Then place the thumb of that hand on the top of the big toe and gently push and turn the big toe down and under the foot and toward the little toe. Hold that position for at least 90 seconds, then slowly release the toe, repeating several times to help relieve the pain.
Soak your feet.
A 10-minute warm water soak will give quick, temporary relief from all kinds of foot ailments, bunions included. Also, you can speed up healing of mild bunions with whirlpool baths and ultrasound.
If your bunion feels hot and swollen, it may be inflamed. Cool it down by applying a cloth – covered ice pack. “I like to use a Ziploc – type resealable plastic bag half – filled with water and crushed ice and wrapped in a damp cloth. Apply for 10 or 15 minutes, then remove for a few minutes to let your feet warm up before applying again. (If you have circulation problems in your feet or diabetes, you’re better off avoiding ice for any foot problems.)
Try a shot of hot, then cold.
Use contrast baths to get circulation going again and to relieve bunion pain. Sit on the edge of the bathtub with the affected foot under the faucet. Let hot water flow over it for 3 minutes, then cold water for 1 minute, then hot for 3 minutes, and cold for 1 minute. Then repeat one more time. Instead, you may begin with cold water for 3 minutes, followed by hot for 1 minute, repeating the procedure two more times. You may also soak the foot in alternate pans of hot and cold water.
Nutritional remedies: Try pineapple. Naturopaths suggest taking bromelain, a protein dissolving (proteolytic) enzyme found in pineapple, for inflammatory joint problems such as bunions. If you don’t like the taste, you can buy it as a supplement. taking 250 to 750 milligrams three times a day. (In human studies, doses up to 2,000 milligrams have caused no side effects.)
Everyday prevention: Cover bunions with donut pads. A donut pad (sometimes labeled a bunion cushion) has a hole cut in the middle to prevent putting pressure on the swollen area. Available at most chemists, some bunion pads have adhesive on the back, while others may need to be adhered with first – aid tape. Position the opening of the pad over the part of your bunion that sticks out the most, says Steven Subotnick, a podiatrist and author of Sports and Exercise Injuries.
Stomp on pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or Advil can relieve the pain and swelling of most types of foot pain. Follow package directions. This is a temporary fix, however. You don’t want to stay on over – the – counter painkillers for more than a few weeks. So, make sure to try other strategies to relieve your specific foot problem.
Slip on some skin. Moleskin, that is, and place it over the corn or bunion to protect the area. You’ll find it at most pharmacies and grocery stores.
Soften your steps. A soft orthotic device, available at most pharmacies or from a podiatrist, can help absorb shock and take the pressure off sore spots.
Go barefoot. To prevent bunion pain, go without shoes as much as possible. Go shoeless or wear sandals or open – toed shoes as much as possible.
Heat up. Applying a heating pad to bunions on a regular basis helps increase blood flow, which breaks up the inflammation.
Exercise your toes. Work the muscles that control the side – to – side movement of your big toe with the following exercise. Sit with your feet flat and straight out in front of you. Try to move your big toes towards each other, then bring them back. If you can’t manage this at first, use your hand to help move your toes. The muscle that you are using is under the inside anklebone, about one inch down. You can feel a little bulge at this spot as you contract the muscles. “” This exercise helps properly align the joint by rebalancing muscles and stretching contracted tendons in your foot. “Unless your joint is very deteriorated, it will help keep your bunion from getting worse. Suggests that when you’re sitting, try to do five or six repetitions a few hours. “This is a difficult exercise to do. Keep at it however, and it will get easier.
Counter with capsaicin
the hot ingredient in red pepper, is also medically “hot” as a pain reliever for inflammatory conditions. Where applied to the skin at the site of pain, capsaicin blocks certain pain nerves by depleting them of substance P, one of the compounds responsible for producing pain. Many studies show that creams containing 0.025 percent capsaicin relieve all sorts of pain after a few weeks of treatment. Capsaicin creams are available over – the – counter. Or bite off one end of a hot pepper and chew it, and rub the other end directly on the bunion! If you use cream, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward so that you don’t get it in your eyes. Also, since some people are quite sensitive to this compound, you should test it on a small area of skin before using it on a larger area. If it seems to irritate your skin, use discontinue.
Tame the pain with turmeric. Research suggests that like red pepper, turmeric depletes nerve endings of substance P. Applying about a teaspoon of grated fresh turmeric directly to the bunion twice a day could conceivably be helpful. Other studies show that when ingested, the compound curcumin in turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory effects, another reason that it might help relieve bunion pain. The standard dose of curcumin is 400 milligrams three times a day, which is the equivalent of about six to eight teaspoons of turmeric. That’s way more turmeric than you’ll want to use in a curry. To get this herb’s anti – inflammatory benefits. you’ll have to use capsules.
Get help from willow. Willow is herbal aspirin, thanks to the compound silicon that it contains. A closely related compound, salicylic acid, is a callus remover and wart treatment and also shows up in many over – the counter preparations for treating bunions and corns. Salicylates are absorbed through the skin. Try applying fresh willow by wrapping the inner bark around the bunion, or adding some dried bark to your daily herbal teas. If you’re allergic to aspirin, however, you probably shouldn’t take aspirin – like herbs, either.
Get aid from arnica. The flowers of this plant, also known as mountain daisy, are useful for treating muscle and joint complaints, according to Commission E, the body of experts that makes herbal.
Cool it with chamomile. Essential oils of chamomile, has been suggested by aromatherapists for treating bursitis and could conceivably be useful for bunions. It has well – established anti – inflammatory activity that could help keep bunions under control. After you’ve drunk your chamomile tea, apply the spent tea bag directly to the bunion, if you have hay fever, however, you should use chamomile products cautiously. Chamomile is a member of the ragweed family, and in some people, it might trigger allergic reactions. The first time you try it, watch your reaction. If it seems to help, go ahead and use it. But if it seems to cause or aggravate itching or irritation, discontinue use.
Ease with Clove. Clove oil is almost pure eugenol, a potent anesthetic widely used by dentists for treating toothache. You might try clove oil by placing a few drops on a cotton bandage and applying it directly to the bunion once or twice a day. If it irritates your skin, use discontinue.
Go for ginger. In addition to having some proteolytic activity, spicy ginger is also a pain – relieving anti – inflammatory that might help control the discomfort of bunions, according to Indian researchers. They gave three to seven grams (11/2 to 3/2 teaspoons) of powdered ginger a day to 28 people with painful and inflamed joints. More than 75 percent experienced noticeable relief from pain and swelling. After up to 30 months, none reported adverse effects from this dosage of ginger. For bunions, try drinking ginger tea made with one teaspoon of grated fresh ginger per cup of boiling water. You can apply rated ginger directly to the bunion once or twice a day as well.
Soothe with Sundew. This herb has a long folk reputation as a treatment for bunions, corns and warts. About 15 years ago, scientists learned why: It has proteolytic activity. To use this herb, crush the fresh plant and apply it directly to the bunion once or twice a day for up to a week.