Q:

How do you treat bunions with foot soaks?

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Bunion pain is reduced by soaking the foot in 1 gallon of water mixed with 1 cup of vinegar, explains podiatrist Dr. Michael King for HowStuffWorks. An effective substitute for vinegar is a few tablespoons of salt, notes Dr. Louis Rizio for the Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center. Soaks last five to 15 minutes and should occur whenever pain is troubling.

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Ice packs also alleviate bunion pain, according to Dr. King. Place them on the affected area several times a day. A topical analgesic cream that contains menthol helps cool the sore spot, states Dr. Rizio. Creams with capsaicin obstruct pain signals when rubbed into bunions.

It is also possible to make shoes more bunion-friendly. To reduce bunion pain and inflammation, wear shoes with wide toe boxes, explains Dr. King. The inside of the shoe where the bunion rests is cushioned with a donut-shaped piece of moleskin or foam. The pad surrounds the bunion. In addition, many styles of sandals leave the bunion free from all pressure. The tendency to have bunions is hereditary. They are sometimes caused by arthritis or bone degeneration. These bony bumps typically form on the outer edges of big toes, but the top of the big toe or even the little toe are possible sites. It is common for bunions to develop on both feet at the same time.

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