HealthSheets™


Treating Bunions

Although a bunion won’t go away, wearing shoes that fit properly will often relieve the pain. Padding and icing the bunion may also help. Bunions that remain painful may need surgery.

Image of a low-heeled shoe
Heels: Heel height should be low. The back of the shoe should grip your heel firmly so the shoe doesn't flop when you walk.

Image indicating toe space needed in shoe
Toes: There should be 1/2" between your longest toe and the tip of the shoe. The shoe should be wide enough for you to wiggle your toes.

Shoes

To relieve a bunion, you don’t have to buy shoes that are ugly or out of fashion. But follow these tips:

  • Shop for shoes late in the day. This is when your feet are the largest.

  • Have both feet measured often. Fit shoes to your larger foot.

  • Look for shoes that have the same shape as your foot but are slightly wider across the toes.

  • Choose low-heeled shoes.

  • Always try shoes on. Stand up and walk around. If the shoes aren’t comfortable, don’t buy them.

Ice massage

To help relieve a painful bunion, put an ice cube in a plastic bag. Rub the ice on the bunion for 5 minutes. Repeat 2 to 3 times a day.

Pads

You may want to put a pad over the bunion to cushion it. You can buy bunion pads at most drugstores.

Surgery

Wearing wider shoes and padding the bunion may not relieve the pain. Your healthcare provider may then suggest surgery. During surgery, the bunion is shaved away and the bones are put back in a straight line.

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