When you learn to read, you start with the basics—learning the alphabet and the sound of each letter. You can begin solving the problem of your big toe deformity by applying the same simple process. These ABCs for bunion care at home are a good starting point that may end up bringing you enough pain relief so you won’t need surgery.
- Alleviate pressure! This can be done by switching to sandals or shoes with flexible uppers like canvas or mesh. We can also prescribe custom orthotics that help rebalance your foot to take pressure off the big toe joint.
- Bend and stretch! Just as you might use exercise to loosen up arthritic joints, stretches and strengthening moves may help your toe joint stay limber and prevent it from becoming stiff and painful. Some examples include grasping the toe with your fingers and gently straightening it, curling and extending the toes, or trying to pick up marbles with them.
- Chill out! Wrap some ice in a thin cloth and apply it to the red, swollen joint for a few minutes several times a day. The cold helps reduce swelling and inflammation and numbs the pain.
- Ditch tight shoes! Although most podiatrists no longer believe that shoes with high heels and pointy toes cause bunions, they certainly can make them more painful. Look for pairs that let your toes lie flat and won’t rub against the joint that is poking out away from your foot.
- Ease the pain! You can protect the bump from friction with a moleskin or gel pad, use warm soaks and massage to ease the ache, and take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers when the pain is especially intense.
These simple remedies alone or in combination may bring enough relief for you to function normally. If not, you can always consult with Yuko Miyazaki, DPM about surgical correction for your toe deformity. There are a number of different procedures that can be used to straighten the toe joint, including shaving part of the bone, lengthening and tightening tendons and ligaments, cutting and resetting the bone and securing with pins or screws, and more. After a careful examination, we can advise you on which one(s) we think will benefit you most.
As soon as you notice a red bumpy bone sticking out by your big toe, call our office in Berkeley, CA at (510) 647-3744 and set up a time to come in. We will help you find the best answer to your pain.