How to Get Rid of Bunion Pain Without Surgery

How to Get Rid of Bunions Naturally

A bunion is a painful deformed joint at the base of the big toe which can affect how you walk. Bunions (medical name is hallux valgus) develop as a result of the misalignment of the bones of the big toe which leads to stretching of the ligaments and tendons around the big toe joint. Eventually, the big toe joint becomes enlarged and a painful lump develops on the joint. The soft tissue over the deformed joint becomes inflamed, red, and painful which makes it very hard to walk or exercise. In this article I am going to look at natural ways and home remedies to help you prevent bunions, relieve the pain that they cause, and stop their progression, preventing the need to eventually get a surgery.

What Causes Bunions?

According to Dr. Georgeanne Botek from the Cleveland Diabetic Foot Clinic, bunions can be caused by the way you walk or the shoes that you wear. Bunions also affect more women than men, especially in older age.1 Because most of the pressure when you walk is on the joint of your big toe, bunions can make walking painful and difficult.


Bunions may also be associated with certain types of arthritis, particularly inflammatory types, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Some people also suffer from a bunion in the little toe called a bunionette or “tailor’s bunion”. This type of small bunion causes a pain in the joint of the little toe and may be covered by a hard corn or callus.

Can Bunions be Reversed or Shrunk?

It is possible to prevent bunions and in some cases halt their development. Doctor of podiatric medicine, Dr. Philip A. Radovic says that with supportive shoe gear and the proper shoe inserts, early diagnosis can slow and even stop the formation of bunions.2

Most ways to manage the pain associated with bunions and “tailor’s bunions” involve arch supports, splints, or topical applications to relieve the pain and support the big toe. These can help to reduce the pressure on the joint of the big toe and help to reduce discomfort when walking or exercising.

Natural Treatments for Bunions

Doctors agree that all bunions are permanent and the only way to get rid of them for good is to return the toe to its original position by surgical procedures. However, there are many effective non-surgical home treatments that can soothe bunion pain, reduce the pressure that they cause, and possibly stop their progression, which can help you to avoid bunion surgery.

Proper Footwear

To relieve the pain and discomfort caused by bunions, it’s essential to wear proper footwear which can even halt the progression of your bunion, preventing the need to eventually get surgery.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends wearing comfortable shoes that give your toes plenty of space. Having the proper footwear can help you to reduce the pressure on the painful bunion lump in your big toe and relieve discomfort when walking.  They recommend the following types of shoes to avoid pain when walking and prevent bunions from getting worse:3

  • Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes that have a heel higher than 2 inches.
  • Make sure that your toes aren’t squeezed together.
  • Get both feet measured regularly to make sure that you pick the right size of shoes.
  • Don’t buy shoes expecting them to stretch; they should fit comfortably from the start.

Wearing the proper footwear that gives your toes plenty of space to move in also helps to alleviate the pain if you have a bunionette or “tailor’s bunion.”

Orthotics for Bunion Pain Relief

There are many types of bunion correctors in the form of pads, inserts, and splints that you can use to get relief from the pain caused by bunions and possibly slow or halt the progression of bunions.

Shoe Inserts

To help distribute pressure in your foot more evenly and prevent bunions from getting worse, you can use specially designed padded shoe inserts. These can support your affected toe better and also help get a relief from pain that the bunion causes.

These shoe inserts can be bought over-the-counter, or a podiatric doctor can prescribe specially designed shoe inserts to provide pain relief.



Splints are designed to hold the toe as straight as possible and can help to ease bunion discomfort when resting or sleeping during the night. Because your toe is held in a straight position, it helps to reduce the inflammation in the joint and relieves the discomfort.


There are various types of bunion pads that can relieve the discomfort caused by an enlarged and swollen big toe joint. Some bunion pads help prevent pain by reducing friction and chafing on the bunions when walking. Other bunion corrector pads contain gel to provide cushioned relief and help to keep the affected large toe straight.

Cold Therapy for Bunions

Many home remedies to get rid of bunions involve topical applications to provide pain relief. One of the most common ways to treat a painful bunion is to use an ice pack. The ice helps to reduce inflammation and numbs the nerve endings so you don’t feel pain in your big toe. An ice pack is also a great way to relieve painful toe joint if you have been on your feet for a long time.

To make an ice pack to relieve the discomfort and pain caused by bunions, you can do the following:

  • Put some crushed ice in a thin towel and wrap it.
  • Gently put it on the inflamed toe joint and hold for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Remove the pack for 10 minutes, then reapply 2 or 3 times.
  • Use this home remedy any time your bunion is swollen, inflamed or painful to reduce the inflammation in the area and to promote healing.

Marigold (Calendula) for Bunions

Marigolds contain many anti-inflammatory properties which can provide complete pain relief from bunions. Various studies into marigold extracts have shown that this is a proven home remedy to reduce inflammation and help get rid of the bunion pain.

For example, one study published in The Foot and Ankle Online Journal showed that a paste containing marigold extracts that applied with a pad to the bunion was able to completely relieve pain after 8 weeks. The marigold paste also helps to reduce the size of the bunion.4 Therefore, because of the anti-inflammatory effects of marigold extracts, this kind of therapy is an effective way to heal bunions naturally and get rid of the pain.

You can purchase calendula creams and extracts in drugstores, health food stores and online.


A therapeutic foot massage can help to alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by bunions. Massaging the foot helps to get more blood flowing to the painful area and reduces swelling.


To massage your painful bunion take some coconut oil and massage it into the affected area to help increase blood circulation. You can also add to the coconut oil a few drops of my recommended essential oils for relieving pain and inflammation.

Use the ball of your thumb to massage the coconut oil into the affected area by using circular motions and applying pressure on the bunion. Repeat this 2 – 3 times daily to get relief from a painful bunion.

Foot massage can also help your general health and you can read about it in my article about the unbelievable benefits of foot massage.


An effective home remedy to treat bunions that are caused by arthritis is turmeric. Curcumin is the main compound in turmeric and it has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory properties. The journal Arthritis Research and Therapy reported on a clinical trial where curcumin was proven to relieve the painful symptoms of osteoarthritis, which also causes pain and swelling in joints.5

To use the healing power of curcumin for pain relief from bunions, add more turmeric to your diet but make sure you read my article on how to increase turmeric absorption in your body. You can also use turmeric topically: mix 1 tsp. turmeric powder with a little coconut oil and massage it directly into the bunion. Do this 2 – 3 times a day until your symptoms improve.


Some websites also advise using chamomile as a natural home remedy for pain caused by bunions.

Research into chamomile has shown that it has powerful anti-inflammatory activities which are just as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are usually recommended to reduce pain.6


To reduce bunion pain, make chamomile massage oil by mixing 2 – 3 drops of chamomile essential oil with a tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil. Massage the remedy into your toe every night before going to bed to help relieve the discomfort caused by the painful bunion. Chamomile is just one of the best essential oils to relieve pain and inflammation.

Foot Exercises

Very often, exercising your foot can help increase the flexibility of your toes and reduce the discomfort caused by bunions. Exercise physiologist, Dr. Richard Weil recommends strengthening your feet as an effective treatment for bunions. Although there isn’t a lot of evidence for this natural treatment, Dr. Weil still believes that foot exercises worth a try to help slow or even halt the progression of your bunion, preventing the need to eventually get surgery. Here are his suggested foot exercises for slowing the progression of bunions:7

Towel Pull

  • Sit barefoot on a chair with a towel on the ground at your feet.
  • Try to lift the towel with your foot by curling your toes to grip the towel.
  • Pull the towel to draw it up under your toes.

Big Toe Pulls

  • Put a thick rubber band around both toes.
  • Keeping your heels together, try to pull your big toes away from each other.
  • Hold for 3 seconds, release and repeat a few times.

Epsom Salt Foot Soak

An excellent home remedy for bunions that are caused by arthritis is to soak your feet in an Epsom salt foot bath. According to Dr. Melinda Ratni on WebMD, the magnesium and sulfate in the Epsom salt soak into the skin helping to reduce inflammation in joints and improve circulation throughout the body.8 This can also prevent the bunion from getting worse.

To relieve the bunion pain with Epsom salt bath, do the following:

  • Put 1/2 cup Epsom salt into a large bucket of warm water.
  • Soak your feet in the water for 10 minutes so help relieve the pain and swelling in your large toe joint.

Tips for Preventing Bunions

Bunions can be easily prevented if you are able to spot the early signs of a bunion appearing and take steps not to aggravate the joint even further. You should make sure that you always wear well-fitting shoes that give your toes plenty of space. Avoid shoes with a pointed-toe end, as well as high-heels that will aggravate a bunion even more. If you experience some pain, then a bunion pad can help to relieve any discomfort when you are walking.

When to Have a Bunion Surgery

If natural remedies to treat bunions don’t work, doctors may suggest a surgery as the only option to remove the bunion and realign the big toe. This can help to remove the swollen tissue that is causing irritation and make sure that your toe is aligned properly and doesn’t cause any more pain.

Surgery isn’t recommended unless the bunion causes you frequent pain or disturbs your daily activities.

Read my other related articles:
1. Natural Remedies for Plantar Fasciitis (Jogger’s Heel)
2. Top 10 Natural Remedies for Swollen Ankles, Legs and Feet
3. Natural Home Remedies to Prevent and Eliminate Feet Odor

Article Sources

Healthy and Natural World