Non-surgical treatment options for bunions

Before considering surgery to remove your bunions, your doctor will most likely first try non-invasive measures to try and improve them. These can include:

  • Using corrective padding in your shoes: this includes using shoe inserts and padding to make sure that your big toe lies correctly in your shoe so as not to further irritate the bunion.
  • Wearing the correct shoes: wearing shoes that are wide enough for your feet and that have little to no heel will allow you to move your toes better. Shoes with an adjustable strap are also good for giving your feet more room.
  • Painkillers: over-the-counter pills like ibuprofen or paracetamol can help reduce inflammation and pain caused by bunions.

Surgery for bunions

If non-invasive techniques don’t work for relieving the pain associated with bunions, your doctor may recommend that you have surgery to correct them.

There are many different operations that can be performed to correct bunions and the main aim is to straighten out the big toe and narrow the foot. The operation that your surgeon recommends you have will depend on the severity of the bunions you have.

Two common corrective surgical procedures for treating bunions include:

  • Metatarsal osteotomy: this is where your surgeon cuts one or more bones in your foot and resets them so that they are in line. This procedure also usually involves cutting ligaments and parts of your big toe joint in order to help straighten out your big toe.
  • Exostectomy: also known as a bunionectomy, this is where your surgeon shaves off the part of the bone that is sticking out rather than straightening out the toe. While this operation is less complicated, if the joint is not corrected it is more likely that you’ll get bunions again in the future.