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What Are the Treatments for Bunions Without Surgery?

By Lori Newell ; Updated August 14, 2017

A bunion is a bony growth that forms on the inside of your foot, at the base of your big toe. Bunions can be caused by arthritic changes in the foot or abnormal bone structure. Although surgery is the only way to correct this deformity, there are several treatments available to reduce pain caused by bunions.

Change in Footwear

Certain types of footwear may increase bunion pain. High-heeled shoes increase pressure on the front of your feet, decreasing the amount of space available for your toes. Wearing flat-soled shoes that are wide through the toe area may relieve pressure on your bunions, decreasing pain.

Protective Bunion Pads

Protective bunion pads are typically oval-shaped, with a cut-out hole that fits over the pointed area of your bunion. These pads decrease friction caused by your footwear, and reduce pressure on the bone.


Abnormal walking patterns may contribute to your bunion pain. In these cases, a specially made shoe insert can reduce pain caused by your bunion. Over-the-counter or customized orthotics can correct your foot position, relieving pressure on your bunion. See your doctor for guidance when choosing a shoe insert.


Pain and swelling caused by your bunion can interfere with daily life. In these situations medications may help reduce pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter or prescription strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be taken, as directed by your doctor.

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