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How are Bunions Treated?

A bunion will not go away on its own, and it is likely to worsen over time, although the speed at which a bunion changes varies from person to person.

Doctors often start treatment with nonsurgical interventions, including:

  • Wearing shoes with wider and deeper toe boxes and heels less than 2 inches high
  • Using pads and cushions to cover the bunion and protect it from friction
  • Reducing physical activity to rest the feet
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen may be used to address swelling and pain
  • Using ice packs for cold therapy several times per day can reduce inflammation
  • Corticosteroid injection treatments, which reduce swelling of the sacs around the toe joint, seem to help a small number of people with bunions
  • Custom orthotics and toe separators can be worn with or without shoes to promote proper toe alignment
  • Physical therapy can help to ease inflammation and restore flexibility
  • Ultrasound therapy has been shown to reduce inflammation in soft tissue

Bunion surgery

When nonsurgical interventions fail to produce results and the discomfort caused by bunions start to make daily activities difficult, doctors may consider surgical treatment.

There are a number of ways to operate on bunions, from repositioning the toe to removing excess bone and soft tissue.

The surgical plan is developed by a foot and ankle surgeon using information from X-rays and a patient's background history.

More on bunion surgery, including cost and recovery »