Depending on the severity of the bunion, there are several nonsurgical options for treating it, including changing the shoe type, according to Mayo Clinic. Other treatments include splinting, padding, or using ice to reduce swelling and pain.
Shoes that force the toes inward often increase the pain and deformity due to bunions. Choosing a shoe that offers a larger toe box gives the foot room to heal. If the treatment plan includes splinting or padding the foot, the shoes need to provide additional space for the material. Mayo Clinic indicates individuals who experience bunions sometimes benefit from seeing a doctor for application of the splint and taping the foot to correct the condition. Appropriate use of ice helps to numb the pain and reduce the swelling.
Activities that put pressure on the big toe and foot are likely to increase the pain of bunions; however, maintaining one's weight is important in managing the pain. WebMD recommends against patients giving up all activities because of bunions, advising them instead to modify their exercise programs to include activities, such as swimming, to reduce the pain and as an alternative to weight-bearing exercises.
When conservative measures do not bring relief, WebMD indicates there are several surgical options; however, these options sometimes require several weeks after the procedure for the foot to heal completely. Most doctors only recommend surgery when the bunion interferes with daily activates or causes frequent pain.