Five ways to ease your bunions without surgery

Sandal season is here, but you are reluctant to break out this season’s fashionable footwear because you have an unsightly bump jutting out from the base of your big toe.

While the medical term is hallux valgus, you’ll know the condition by its more common name — bunions!

Bunions occur when the bone or tissue at the bottom of your big toe moves out of place. If you’ve had the point under pressure it might actually force the big toe to bend towards the other toes on your foot and this can be quite painful.

The bad news is that your bunions are permanent unless you get them surgically removed.

However, you can take steps to slow your bunion’s progression and make yourself more comfortable. It can be as simple as wearing shoes that properly fit, and have plenty of space for your toes and the widest part of your foot.

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Here are some other ways to get relief.

Olive oil

Warm a small amount of olive oil and use it to give your bunion a massage, including the toes and lower foot, for around 15 minutes twice a day. You’ll boost your circulation and increase the blood flow to the foot and toes, which will in turn encourage the fluid to move around the bones again.


You often hear about capsaicin that removes the nerves of pain and discomfort causing compounds and red capsicum is a top source of capsaicin. You’ll want to cut one red capsicum (also known as red pepper) in half and rub the juice directly on to your bunion. Then smear a little bit of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) on top and bandage it up.

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If you can repeat this process a couple of times a day you will start to notice some relief. That said, it might be worth doing a ‘spot test’ using a small amount of capsicum on the skin to check for irritation. Be sure to wash your hands after every application.

Epsom salt

Proven to be beneficial for the relief of pain and swelling, Epsom salt can be a good treatment for bunions. You should try dissolving a handful of Epsom salt in a bucket of water and soaking your foot in it for 30 minutes or more. If you can do it once a day you should start to notice some relief in the discomfort of your problem.

Cold or heat packs

A cold or hot compress can be an effective way of getting relief from your bunions. If you apply an ice pack on your foot, covering the bunion, for about 10 minutes at a time it can help heal the issue. (It is worth noting that cold compresses and/or ice packs are not recommended for anyone who is a diabetic.)

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While a heat pack can provide you with relief from the pain and assist in improving the way blood circulates, which could have a positive effect on any swelling your might be experiencing from your bunion.


Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to reduce pain and inflammation. It might help shrink bunions, but the results are inconclusive on that. There are a couple of methods you can use here:

  • Brew a cup of tea using a chamomile tea bag and sip it while it is still warm, then put the tea bag on your bunion. If you like chamomile tea you can use this method up to four times a day — once for every cup of tea you brew.
  • Get yourself some chamomile essential oil and mix it with a vegetable oil then massage your bunion each night before bed, which is aimed at helping the alignment of your toe.
  • Do you have bunions on your feet? Do you have any home remedies to help with the pain and discomfort of bunions? Share them with us.