While bunions usually aren’t a topic of conversation at the dinner table, they are a common foot deformity that many people suffer from. A bunion is often described as a bump on the side of the big toe, but that bump can actually change the bones in the foot.
The big toe leans toward the second toe, throwing the toes out of alignment. Bunions are a progressive disorder that gradually change the angle of specific foot bones over the years, slowly producing the visible bump.
What Causes Bunions?
Bunions are most often caused by an inherited mechanical structure of the foot. Certain foot types actually make a person more prone to developing a bunion. Symptoms include pain or soreness, inflammation and redness, a burning sensation and possible numbness. Symptoms occur most when wearing shoes that crowd the toes. Bunions don’t just go away on their own. They actually get worse over time.
If you’re suffering from a bunion, there are ways to ease the pain, including:
- Changes in Shoewear – choose shoes that have space for the toes
- Padding – placing pads over bunions can help to minimize pain
- Activity – avoid standing for long periods of time, as it can cause pain
Medications and even surgery may be recommended, but there are natural treatments you can use to help ease the pain and reduce the size of bunions.
1. Olive Oil
Warm up some olive oil and massage the bunion, toes and foot for about 15 minutes, twice a day. Massaging will help to improve circulation and increase blood flow to the foot and toes, while encouraging synovial fluid to move around the bones. The movement of this fluid will lubricate and nourish the joints, while dissolving the excess calcium of the bunion, helping it to heal.
2. Red Pepper
Red pepper contains capsaicin, a substance that helps to eliminate pain and discomfort. Cut 1 red pepper in half and rub the juice onto the bunion. Add a little bit of petroleum jelly and cover the bunion with a bandage. Use this method twice a day and wash your hands thoroughly after every application.
3. Castor Oil
Castor oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and ease pain. Put half a cup of castor oil into a pan and heat it up. Dip a thin cloth into the oil and wrap it around your bunions. Cover it with a towel so that the heat does not escape. The heat will stimulate blood flow to the area to relieve soreness. Repeat up to three times a day until the pain subsides.
4. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate, which can help to reduce inflammation and minimize pain. Dissolve half a cup of Epsom salt into a small tub or bucket of hot water and soak your foot for 20 minutes. Use this method twice daily. The salt will start to decalcify the joint and diminish the size of the bunion.
5. Ice Pack
Place some ice cubes inside a bag and put it directly onto the bunion for about 10 minutes. Repeat this method several times a day to alleviate pain and reduce swelling.