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Is it really possible to get help for bunions without surgery?
Most bunions can be helped if you commit to the process. For bunion relief, know the causes of bunions and make a long-term plan for change. This is the goal of Functional Health work in my San Antonio natural health clinic, virtual Consults and my Primal Diet – Modern Health podcasts. Fix the cause as well as the symptom!
What is a bunion?
A bunion is a bony growth in the lower joint of your big toe. The big toe pushes against the second toe, forcing the joint to stick out. As a weight-bearing joint, this can be extremely painful. Calluses and blisters can form on the edge of the bunion, doubling the pain.
This crippling foot affliction usually gets worse with time. Surgery for bunions can be complicated, expensive, painful and does not guarantee a well-formed foot as the outcome.
FIRST: Herbs and Foods to Reduce Inflammation
Step #1 is reducing Inflammation. We do this with food and supplements.
Inflammation and infection may be both cause and effect of bunions. Either way, we have to get inflammation under control.
- Number one is the Ancestral or Paleo Diet (my “Diet For Human Beings“): Removing grains, most dairy, sugars and processed vegetable oils (Canola, Corn, Soy) will make fast changes in overall pain and inflammation. Read more on this page on my website for starters. Really, this WILL help with your pain (as well as your weight and auto-immune antibodies)…
- While regular fish oil is anti-inflammatory, I much prefer this cod liver oil. It’s fresh, unfiltered and has vitamins A and D in it too! You can also find this Rosita Cod Liver oil in gel caps here! This proprietary high DHA fish oil is unique on the market and works well too. Dosages are on the product page.
- Herbal anti-inflammatories provide good pain support. Try different combinations to find your best choice. White Willow, Devil’s Claw and Boswellia work well in this one from Biotics Research. This Curcumin with Bioperene works well too. Don’t waste your money on cheap Turmeric or Curcumin. It has to be Grade 10 herbs to work and only professional companies sell those.
- Topical Arnica is great for pain or trauma.
- My online store has high-quality supplements for pain, inflammation, hormones, anxiety and energy. N3 – Relaxa and Passion Flower are both helpful.
More Help for Bunions without Surgery
Once you’ve gotten daily high quality anti-inflammatory herbs to reduce inflammation and pain, and removed the worst of the inflammatory foods from your diet, you’ll see a difference in many areas of your body: sleep, digestion, mood, other areas of pain, and more.
Review the above products again, and get off Grains (wheat, oats, corn) and hydrogenated oils (Canola, Corn and Soy).
NOW, WHAT’S NEXT?
#2: Remove shoes causing foot discomfort
- Women are 10 times more likely than men to have bunions. That desire to “have pretty feet” may lead to narrow pointy shoes, high heels, and shoes a size too small in length and width.
Get ruthless about removing all shoes that hurt. If you’re left with only one pair of ancient sandals, that’s what you’re wearing until you get new shoes…. Put the rest out of sight, and try them again after 6 months in the process. Mostly though, they’re history. If they caused this problem once, they’ll cause it again…
Now, get new shoes!
You need footwear with a wide toe box letting toes spread apart with no crowding. Low or no heel is best. I wear 2 kinds of shoes – minimalist barefoot shoes without arch supports, and structured shoes with a wide toe box and some arch support. You may need a size larger and wider than “normal” to accommodate bunion sleeves. No flip-flops or sandals with a strap between the first toes.
Jambu makes several “barefoot” styles as well as more standard ones. (Zappos has free shipping and returns). The barefoot styles have no arch support so be aware of that.
Try a bunch of styles and sizes and have fun! Order big and order wide and most importantly look for the wide toe box. No pointy toes! Reading comments from other buyers can be helpful.
I like Rockport Cobb Hill for a structured shoe that has some arch support.
#3: Get bunion gel pads and toe correctors
- Correct Toes are terrific. They space your toes apart and can be widened as your toes separate. Order from the Correct Toes website, watch their videos, see how to trim or shim them to fit, and call them with questions. I wear mine when not wearing shoes, with a light sock to help them stay on
- I cannot recommend Yoga Toes. They’re expensive and uncomfortable. I hated them immediately!
- Dr. Scholl’s has a few things. The gel pad that slides over the big toe and keeps it from rubbing your shoe is cheap and helpful. I’ve never worn the splints, as the Correct Toes seem to be doing it for my mild bunion. The bunion tube helps in the beginning if your bunion is more severe.
#4: Get help with your Posture and Stride
Toes should be in forward alignment with the shin bone, slightly separated and parallel. Not turned in or out. They should not curl under or stick up.
Pronated (turned in) ankles and knees, differential leg length (one longer than the other), forward-thrusting head, and slouching when walking all put stress on the lower body and change the placement of feet. Aim to contact the ground with the heel before rolling forward off the toes.
- Find a posture coach. If your personal trainer is not constantly on you about your walk, your shoulders, your head forward, and your knees, you need a different trainer. Correct posture resolves many structural issues. Uncorrected posture while lifting weights will cause injury.
- Work on flat feet with your chiropractor, better shoes, and arch supports. I worked with a runner’s store (during their slow hours) to find arch supports that fit the shoes I wear the most. They have helped!
- Other professionals who might take the time to really examine and correct your knees, hips and feet include chiropractors (some of them), Rolfers, and some Airrosti or physical therapists. The trick is getting to the cause of the issue. Is the knee problem really a shoulder problem?? Is it a type of injury causing contractions in the leg or foot?