The Truth About Bunions & Bunion Pain Treatments

If you suffer from foot pain due to the formation of bunions, you're not alone.  


You might have been told you have your mother's feet, or that it's just a normal part of foot development, but I beg to differ!


A bunion (hallux valgus) is an abnormal angle between the big to and foot.  It creates a bump on the outside edge of your toe and if left unattended to can cause pain, inflammation, artiritis, deformity and will absolutely affect your entire body's ability to perform properly.  

If you have a bunion, then you have a problem!  


As a Corrective Exercise Specialist, I believe that aside from rare genetic abnormalities, we're all born with a common blue-print design. That design does not include bunions! 

Basically, bones will go where muscles tell them to.  When we have muscular imbalances within the body, even the bones of the foot are susceptible to moving out of place.  

Signs and Symptoms of Bunions:

  • Calloused or red skin along the big toe
  • Bony bump at this site
  • Pain 
  • Increased pain due to pressure from shoes
  • Growth of extra bone 
  • Fluid-filled sac development at the base of the big toe
  • Soft tissue irritation 
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Stiffness in the foot/ankle
  • Deformity (big toe turns in toward the other toes)
  • (source PubMed Health)

Some say women are more prone to bunion development than men, but I disagree.  Bunions can just as easily occur in mens feet (I see it all the time)!  Bunions form due to misalignments of the bones of the forefoot.


Two Common Causes of Bunions:

  • postural imbalances causing load joint compensations/dysfunctions
  • ill-fitting footwear that causes compression of the toes (narrow, pointed toe and high heel shoes)

In my opinion and experience, I believe most people can correct the damagae caused by bunions if they attend to the postural imbalances within their body.  

The traditional approach to correcting a bunion problem is symptomatic in nature.   


Symptom Approached Nonsurgical Bunion Treatment Options:

  • Rest
  • Avoid excessive walking or standing
  • Changing footwear -loose, wider or open toed shoes
  • Anti-inflammation medications
  • Ice
  • Stretching exercises
  • Bunion splint
  • Custom insoles 
  • Cortisone injection
  • source (MedicineNet.com) 

I find that list interesting.  Have you noticed it's targeted specifically at the site of the pain? 

Ever wonder why treatments are less than successful long term?  

Have you ever considered why you have a bunion on one foot but perhaps not the other?  Hmmmm...

All of treatment can certainly help, but if the pain comes back and you've done it all, your next option is Bunionectomy surgery.  The procedure removes the bony growth and attempts to manually realign the big toe.  This surgery is not always successful, nor does it always alleviate pain.  In my opinion, I believe that your best choice of dealing with pain associated with bunion(s) is to address the bigger question.  WHY did the bunion develop in the first place?  


That's the beauty of Corrective Exercise Programming!  A trained specialist in posture analysis knows how to identify the root cause of your pain.  We look for the underlying cause of what created the bunion, not just the synptom.


If any of your load joints is out of balance you can be guaranteed that there are musculoskeletal compensations and dysfunctions throughout your body.  When you add ill-fitting footware to the mix, it's easy to see that the traditional approach of pain relief doesn't make sense.  


Your muscle function has changed and bones will move out of place if it is not corrected.  

How do I know this?  


I've personally witnessed many times over where a client comes in with bunions (along with a myriad of posture/pain related issues).  A corrective exercise program can successfully alleviate the pain and deformity associated with bunion development because we treat the root cause of why the bunion has developed (muscular imbalances).  


Along with a corrective exercise program designed to resotre your posture, we'll address you motor patterns affecting gait and educate you on the benefits of minimal footwear.  Overtime the big toe will move back towards it's proper position, and inflammation and pain are eliminated.


This is great news if you've been suffering with bunion related foot pain, want to avoid surgery and correct it for good!


Want to read more about how postural therapy can easily treat and correct bunions and other musculoskeletal ailments without medication, manipulation or surgery?  Check out this fantastic article The Truth About Bunions by by colleague Carol Gamboa of Posture, Inc.


Have questions?  Please contact us.  We're in this together, and I am here to help!