Treating bunion pain – treatments and tips

Bunion pain can have a negative effect on your day-to-day life, making it hard to walk and go about your daily activities. Explore some of our advice on treating bunion pain to ease the discomfort and get back to normal.

Consultant examining a patient's bunion
Consultant examining a patient’s bunion

What is a bunion?

A bunion (hallux valgus) is a bony lump that forms on the inside of your foot at the base of your big toe joint. This can affect your big toe by pushing it to point excessively towards your second toe.

Are bunions sore?

Other symptoms include:

Not sure if it’s a bunion?

Here are some other foot problems that might be causing your pain:

Treatment for bunion pain

Discover some of the treatment options to prevent your bunion from worsening…

Wear wider, supportive footwear

Avoid narrower shoes and high heels, instead wear wide, flat shoes with a soft sole. Flat shoes help to take pressure away from your big toe and create more space to help relieve your bunion pain.

Cushion and protect

Bunion pads (soft pads that go over your bunion) or shoe inserts help to ease painful bunion pressure.

Soothe swelling with an ice pack

Apply an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel to the affected area when you can. This will help to ease the pain of a bunion and help to reduce the swelling.

Bunion pain relief

Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to help reduce the pain and the inflammation.

Lifestyle changes

Try losing weight if you are overweight. Being overweight can put a lot of pressure on your feet, which can lead to bunions developing.

Try a bunion splint

Wear a bunion splint at night to help gradually push the toe back into its normal alignment. This will not get rid of your bunion but rather help with the positioning of your toe.

Bunion surgery

If the pain in your bunion does not go away, your doctor may recommend surgery, which is the only way to get rid of a bunion.

Bunion removal surgery is called an osteotomy, which usually takes less than an hour and is usually done under general anaesthetic.

The surgery is undertaken by making a small cut in the skin over your big toe, cutting or scraping away the bunion and then returning the toe bone to its correct position using metal screws or staples put under your skin. These will often be left in the toe permanently.

Unfortunately, bunions can sometimes naturally come back even after surgery.

Preparing for bunion surgery

After your bunion surgery

You will usually be given crutches after your surgery and you may be wearing a splint, plaster cast or special shoe.

To help with your recovery:

Once you have recovered you may see some differences in your big toe, it might be weaker or stiffer than before, it may not be perfectly straight and there’s a chance you may have to keep wearing wide, comfy shoes. From the surgery you may still feel sore and you may have swelling in your foot which can take up to six months to a year to reduce.

If you are suffering from bunion pain, fill in our enquiry form on the right to find out more about getting foot surgery at one of our treatment centres.