Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Treatment options vary depending on the severity of your bunion and the amount of pain it causes you.
Nonsurgical treatments that may relieve the pain and pressure of a bunion include:
- Changing shoes. Wear roomy, comfortable shoes that provide plenty of space for your toes.
- Padding and taping. Your doctor can help you tape and pad your foot in a normal position. This can reduce stress on the bunion and alleviate your pain.
- Medications. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or naproxen (Aleve) may help control the pain of a bunion. Cortisone injections also can be helpful.
- Shoe inserts. Padded shoe inserts can help distribute pressure evenly when you move your feet, reducing your symptoms and preventing your bunion from getting worse. Over-the-counter arch supports can provide relief for some people, though others may require prescription orthotic devices.
If conservative treatment doesn't provide relief from your symptoms, you may need surgery. A number of surgical procedures are performed for bunions, and no particular surgery is best for every problem. Knowing what caused your bunion is essential for choosing the best procedure to ensure correction without recurrence.
Most surgical procedures include a bunionectomy, which involves:
- Removing the swollen tissue from around your big toe joint
- Straightening your big toe by removing part of the bone
- Realignment of the long bone between the back part of your foot and your big toe, to straighten out the abnormal angle in your big toe joint
- Permanently joining the bones of your affected joint
It's possible you may be able to walk on your foot immediately after a bunion procedure. However, full recovery can take up to eight weeks or longer with some bunion procedures. To prevent a recurrence, you'll need to wear proper shoes after recovery.
Surgery isn't recommended unless a bunion causes you frequent pain or interferes with your daily activities. A bunionectomy — like other types of surgery — is not without risk. Additionally, you may still have pain or you could develop a new bunion in your big toe joint after surgery. Consider trying conservative treatment before having a bunionectomy.
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