Reduce Bunion Pain with Home Remedies

A bunion can be described as a body lump that develops on the joint at the base of the big toe. This abnormal growth results when the big toe begins to push against the other toes. This forces your big toe joint to move towards the opposite direction, away from your normal foot profile. Over a period of time, this abnormal position causes your big toe joint to get enlarged, due to which you may experience a lot of pain.

There are several causes of bunions, the most common one being shoes that are too tight. In some instances, medical conditions like arthritis, foot injuries or structural defects could also lead to the development of bunions. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that, more than 50% of the women in the US have bunions and around 90% of them occur in women.

In order to cure a bunion, you will need to undergo a surgery; however, home remedies can go a long way in helping you deal with the pain caused by bunions.

  • Ice Pack: In case a bunion becomes painful or inflamed apply some ice on the affected area, at least three times each day. If you do not have an icepack, use a plastic bag with 5 to 6 cubes and seal it or use a thin towel to wrap it. Make sure that the ice is on the bunion for at least 10 minutes at one time.
  • Red Pepper: James Duke, Herbalist and author of “The Green Pharmacy” advises people to ease bunion pain with red pepper. A substance known as capsaicin, present in red pepper helps deplete the nerves present in the compound that cause the pain. Cut a red pepper into half and use the juice directly on the bunion. Alternately, you could also try applying a commercial capsaicin cream on the area that is affected. Make sure that your hands are properly washed after you handle red pepper or capsaicin cream.
  • Castor Oil: Janet Zand, author of the book “Smart Medicine for Healthier Living” recommends the use of warm castor oil for reducing bunion pain. Heat some castor oil in a pan over a low flame, until the oil is just warm. Then, soak a thin cotton cloth or cheesecloth in the warm oil and place it on the joint that is affected. You could use another towel over this so as to preserve the heat that is generated. Repeat these steps a couple of times, till the pain gets better.
  • Aspirin Soak: In his book “Alternative Cures: More Than 1,000 of The Most Effective Natural Home Remedies”, author Bill Gottlieb suggests soaking the affected foot in an aspirin foot bath, for relieving bunion pain. To prepare this foot bath, you need to crush three or four aspirin tablets into a basin full of warm water. Dip your feet in this solution and keep them soaked for at least 15 to 20 minutes. However, in some cases, aspirin could cause skin irritation. Therefore, in case you experience any discomfort, discontinue this treatment immediately.
Apart from the home remedies mentioned above, there are a couple of self-care steps that should also be followed on a daily basis:
  • Choose shoes that are comfortable and have a wide, deep toe box
  • Apply a non-medicated bunion pad to the abnormal, bony lump
  • Avoid wearing shoes that have a high heel  
  • Use a padded shoe insert to distribute the pressure evenly, as you move your feet
Bunions are not usually a serious problem but they can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort. Therefore, it is best to consult a doctor as you as you notice the formation of a bunion on your foot.

  1. Bunions. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Accessed Dec. 14, 2010.
  2. Bunions. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Accessed Dec. 15, 2010
  3. Bunions. American Podiatric Medical Association. Accessed Dec. 15, 2010