Bunions: Expert explains causes and treatments
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Bunions are prevalent in 28 percent of adults in the UK, the majority of whom are women over 45. It’s a very common problem but sometimes the symptoms are so severe that sufferers will need surgery. Can you treat bunions naturally?
Bunions look different from person to person, but they’re fairly easy to spot.
They manifest as hard lumps on the sides of your feet by your big toes, or when your big toe points towards your other toes.
Sometimes bunions cause hard or swollen skin and then bunions may look red or darker than the surrounding skin.
Bunions can be painful, specifically along the side or bottom of your feet.
The pain is normally worse when you’re wearing shoes or walking.
Don’t confuse bunions for a broken toe, which causes pain, bruising and swelling after an injury.
You also shouldn’t mix up bunions with gout, which presents as red, hot, swollen skin over the joint that comes and goes.
Arthritis symptoms can also be similar to bunions – it causes aching, swollen and stiff joints that are usually worse in the morning.
You can’t always prevent bunions and the cause is unknown.
Medical experts reckon it might help to make sure you wear shoes that are the correct size and have enough room for your toes.
Wearing high heels or pointy toes every day is a no-no when it comes to bunions, so try to keep these for special occasions if you want to avoid them.
How to get rid of bunions
If you have bunions, a GP or podiatrist will advise you about how to treat them, including things you can do to ease your symptoms.
There may be things you can buy or have made such as insoles, toe spacers and toe supports to reduce the pain.
If the bunions are very painful and impact your life severely, your GP may refer you to surgery – but, surgery won’t just be done to improve the appearance of your feet.
Can you treat bunions naturally?
Surgery is the only way to get rid of bunions but you can treat them naturally to ease the pain.
As mentioned, insoles, toe spaces and toe supports might help, or you could buy some bunion pads from the pharmacy.
The NHS also recommends wearing wide shoes with a low heel and soft sole or laying an ice pack on the bunion for five minutes regularly.
If the pain is particularly bad you can take paracetamol or ibuprofen in the recommended dosages.
You could also benefit from losing weight if you’re overweight, according to the NHS.
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