Hallux valgus or commonly known as bunion is enlargement of the base of the big toe. It appears protruded and swollen. This usually happens in women who wear tight-fitting shoes. Too much pressure on the joint causes this abnormality and allopathic treatment include surgery for fixing it. The repetitive motion while wearing a tight shoe distorts the joint and enlarges it to create a bumpy appearance. In severe cases, the joint becomes painful and swollen.
image: shutterstock by By Alila Medical Media
Bunions happen gradually and in the beginning, it is barely noticeable. Over time, the appearance of the bunion becomes evident and pain starts to increase. The outer edge of the joint becomes puffy and the area surrounding it appears red. It might cause excruciating pain while wearing shoes, running and performing exercises. Although women are more likely to get bunions, men at a later age above 65 can suffer from bunions. Wearing constricting shoes is the main cause of this problem. Prolonged use of high heels can restrict the flow of blood and cut off the regular motion of big toe. It winds the toe in an awkward motion to cause inflammation in the scar tissue.
Bunions are difficult to treat in the later stages, but the symptoms of it can be alleviated with the use of essential oils and herbal remedies. Although many professional doctors prescribe surgery as the way to treat bunions, it can lead to unwanted complications. The best way to manage bunions and prevent them from progressing is by using herbal and natural treatments.
Below are different natural and herbal treatments I used to treat my bunion condition without surgery.
1. Wear Wider Shoes
This is a must for relieving your bunion. As I knew I got the problem of bunions because of prolonged use of tight shoes, I almost instantly trashed my older shoes and started using free and wider shoes. This helps to reduce the stress on the big toe and gives room for the bunion to heal. It is a known fact that people having bunions who changed their shoes to wider ones experienced relief from the symptoms within a few days. The pressure taken off from the big toes increases blood circulation in the tissue surrounding the joint and prevents the progression of the abnormality in the joint. If you do not know the right size for your shoe, take help from an athletic store or a shoe specialist who can measure your feet and suggest the right size. Avoid shoes that are sharply pointed and too tight in the front.
2. Correct the position of your shoes with Pads and Shoe inserts.
Using pads and shoe inserts specially made for treating bunions rectify the position of your feet and lower the weight off your toes. These are also called as orthoses that redistribute and take off the pressure from the joint that is affected by a bunion. Some people might need the help of arch or heel support to improve the motion and for properly balancing the body weight. With the right combination of pads and shoes, you can solve the problem of excess pressure and force on the joint.
3. Feet Stretching
Moving toe joints and stretching can reduce the stiffness in the joints, lower joint pain and relax the foot muscle. Perform simple stretches at home such a gently rolling a tennis ball on the joint, flexing and unflexing, and gentle massaging with the hands. To perform stretching, for five seconds extend your toes straight ahead and curl them back. Repeat this daily for 10 or more times. Also, on the affected area, you wrap a towel to stretch it forward and roll it around.
4. Relieve the pain with icing
The inflamed joint can become sore and create a lasting pain. To get relief from this, place a towel with ice or a frozen pack of any food on the joint to numb the pain. The coldness of the ice numbs the nerves and slows the sending of pain signals to the brain.
- Crush 2 to 3 ice cubes in a blender
- Take a thin towel, place the crushed pieces of ice in it, and wrap
- Place the towel over the affected area for 5 minutes
- Repeat this procedure 2 to 3 times in a day
5. Massage the joint with essential oils
Essential oils of Chamomile, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Juniper, Wintergreen, and Cayenne have pain relieving properties. They give therapeutic effect on the body by increasing blood circulation. Massaging the joint with these oils enhances this effect and relieves pain. Regular massage with essential oils has shown to decrease the bunion. Also, it reduces the growth of calluses and corns in the area.
6. Exercising your Foot
Performing various exercises improves flexibility and reduces pain. In the initial stages, exercises are helpful in slowing down the progression of a bunion. I used to mainly do three types of exercises.
- Golf ball or Tennis ball roll
- Bending toes up and down
- Straight and Curl down of fingers
Golf ball and Tennis ball roll
Place your foot on a golf ball or tennis ball while sitting on a chair. Roll the ball underneath the toes and all areas, which feel tight for 5 to 10 minutes.
Bending toes up and down
Sit on a chair, take your right hand if affected leg is right or vice versa and interlace the fingers of the leg with the hand’s fingers. Now, bend toes up and down for 5 minutes.
Straight and Curl down of fingers
Stand up straight with losing grounding of legs on the ground. In a comfortable position, keep the toes straight and ahead for 10 seconds, then curl them down and keep them in that position of 10 seconds. Repeat this several times for 5 minutes.
7. Salt Soak
The symptoms of bunions and arthritis are similar. Salt soak is a popular remedy to treat pain that comes with the inflammation of the joint. Same can be used to treat the bunion pain. Epsom salt is used for this remedy. It is high in magnesium, which helps to regulate the PH level in the body. It fights pain, inflammation and reduces the formation of calluses and corns surrounding the joint area.
- Fill the tub with warm water
- Add a 5 tbs of Epsom salt in the water and stir it thoroughly
- Until the water gets cold, keep your foot with bunion soaked
- Thoroughly dry your foot and massage it with coconut oil and warm oil
Doing this 3 times a week subsides the appearance of a bunion.
Turmeric is becoming quite popular in treating back pain because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It has an analgesic effect on the painful area, which makes it suitable to be used as an alternative to traditional drugs. The ability of the turmeric to block the pain and reduce inflammation makes it a good medicine for treating bunions. To have to benefits of turmeric, one can consume it orally or apply topically on the bunion.
Take 1 tsp of turmeric in a glass of lukewarm milk or water and have it twice daily. Also, make a paste of a piece of turmeric node or ½ tsp of turmeric powder along with olive oil and apply it on the bunion inflamed joint. Do this daily for 2 to 3 times.
Chamomile has many medicinal values. It is capable of improving digestion, relieving pain, soothing infants and calming the mind. It has anti-inflammatory properties, which help to subside bunions. Chamomile can be used in the form of essential oil, tea or ointment.
You can make chamomile tea using leaves or ready chamomile tea bags are available.
- Take a 2 cups of water in a kettle and boil it
- Add a chamomile tea bag or a tsp of dried chamomile leaves into the teapot
- Let it steep and strain the tea into a cup
Gently massaging bunion joint with essential oil every night can improve its condition.
Applying chamomile infused ointment every day on the bunion reduces inflammation and pain in the area.
Calendula flower also commonly known as marigold is effective in treating muscle spasms, reducing fever and pain associated with menstrual periods. It has pain numbing property, which makes it suitable treating symptoms of a bunion. When the extract of this flower is applied on the bunion, it reduces swelling and pain.
- Crush the leaves of calendula and mix it with coconut oil.
- Take 2 drops of this solution and rub it on your hands
- Massage in the area of bunion
- Do this 2 to 3 times every day
Additional Tips to get rid of bunions without surgery
- Find a shoe that is natural and wide enough for the toes
- Perform motion exercises to reverse the effect of bunion
- Do not consider surgery as an option if your bunion is in initial
- Reduce the intake of pain medications to treat bunion pain
- Use protective pads, orthotics, splints, and braces in your shoes comfort the toes