Bunions 一 large bony bumps that form at the base of your big toe 一 aren’t just unsightly; they can be a source of discomfort and pain. Left untreated, they can also contribute to nerve damage in your feet.
If you've noticed the early signs of a bunion (or even a bunionette on your pinky toe), you might be wondering how to prevent it from getting worse. Fortunately, there are proactive measures you can take to care for your feet and slow down the progression of bunions.
Read on as our team of expert podiatrists shares tips for preventing bunion pain and when it’s time to seek podiatric care here at Manhattan Podiatry Associates, PC, in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.
Choose the right footwear
Tight or narrow shoes can exacerbate bunions by compressing your toes and increasing pressure on your big toe joint. With this in mind, choose shoes that feature a wide toe box so your toes have plenty of room to wiggle.
Avoid any style of shoe that’s narrow and/or has a high heel. High heels and shoes with pointed toes can contribute to the development and worsening of bunions.
Tip: When buying new shoes, plan your shopping trip for the end of the day. Your feet are naturally more swollen in the afternoon, so trying on shoes at this point ensures that your new footwear will fit you any time of the day.
Add protective padding in your shoes
Once you’ve purchased the right footwear, you might consider adding protective padding. Non-medicated bunion pads or cushions help alleviate pressure on your bunion. They act as a barrier between your shoe and bunion, reduce friction, and alleviate discomfort.
Maintain a healthy weight
Excess body weight can put additional stress on your feet and exacerbate bunion-related issues 一 among other foot problems. If you’re overweight, losing weight can help prevent your bunion from getting worse. It can also help with other issues, such as gout, plantar fasciitis, and arthritis in your feet.
Perform foot exercises
When you think of exercising, you might not think about your feet, but foot exercises can help prevent your bunion from getting worse. Performing toe-strengthening exercises and stretches can help maintain joint flexibility and prevent stiffness. A few examples include toe circles, toe splays, adductor muscle stretches, and marble pick-ups.
Use cold therapy
If you experience swelling or discomfort, apply cold compresses to your toe. If needed, take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (as directed) to help alleviate your symptoms.
Wear orthotic inserts
Custom orthotic inserts provide additional support and alignment for your feet. These inserts may help distribute pressure more evenly and reduce the strain on your affected toe joint. Here at Manhattan Podiatry Associates, PC, our team uses highly detailed 3D images and measurements to custom-make your orthotics so you receive the support exactly where you need it most.
Schedule an appointment
While at-home treatments for your bunions may help alleviate some discomfort, it might not be enough to provide the relief you need. Don’t hesitate to schedule your exam at Manhattan Podiatry Associates, PC. You might consider professional treatment if:
- Your bunions are getting worse
- Conservative treatments aren’t working
- Your bunions make walking painful and/or difficult
Our team provides personalized advice, recommends appropriate treatments, and assesses whether additional interventions, such as orthopedic devices or surgical options, may be necessary. In severe cases, surgery may help straighten your toe with the help of wires and screws.
Questions about your bunions?
The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can implement a bunion treatment plan. Make an appointment with our team at Manhattan Podiatry Associates, PC, today to get your feet the treatment they need.