Wearing narrow-toed, high-heeled shoes may be the reason a bunion begins to form on the big toe. While high-heeled shoes give the appearance of lovely, slender legs, they are not worth the cost of possible bunion growth. I have long since given up gorgeous gams, settling for sensible, sturdy walking shoes.
I thought my problem was arthritis until I began to research the matter. My big toe on the left foot swells up at the joint on the outside of my foot. It turns red and just plain aches at times. Of course, consulting with the doctor was not the first option as I am a home-remedy advocate. When I walk or bend my toes, the big one hurts. Not all the time, just occasionally, so far.
When a friend mentioned the word “bunion” I was nonplused. Bunions, I thought, belonged to the elderly and infirm. I am fast approaching that age in my life where more thoroughly investigation is necessary. A bunion can be detected when the big toe turns toward the other toes, sometimes overlapping them. Ladies, be aware that bunions most often occur in women and tend to run in families, especially among those with abnormal bones in their feet. The bunions may become painful because extra bone and fluid sacs form at the bottom of the big toe.
If the bunion becomes deformed or there is serious pain which keeps you from your normal activities, or if there are signs of redness and swelling, especially if you are diabetic, it is time to have your doctor check it out. He can generally detect the bunion just by looking at it. A bunionectomy may be necessary to put the bone back in place and remove the bump. If this sounds like a lot to handle, why not investigate self-care remedies before facing surgery?
Begin by taking care of your feet. When the bunion first begins to develop, invest in a pair of wide-toed shoes. This purchase, alone, can bring a solution, preventing the necessity of further treatment. One can also wear pads made of foam on the foot for protection of the sore area. My thrifty, handy-man husband had a wonderful suggestion: cut a hole in a pair of old, comfortable shoes to wear around the house. Now that’s savings plus.
Your age and level of activities plays an important role in choosing the care procedures for the bunion. Arthritis may be settling in, causing less range of motion and discomfort when pressure is applied to the bump or joint. The use of a boo-boo bunny, an ice cube wrapped in a rolled-up wash cloth, tied together with a rubber band to form a bunny with two perky little ears (kids love them), along with resting the foot, can provide considerable relief. The occasional use of Tylenol or ibuprofen may also help.
There are several exercises that work well to bring relief, as well as strengthen the foot:
Stand about two feet from the wall. Prop your arms up on the wall, leaning into it. Place the painful foot behind the other, put your weight on the heel of that foot and lean forward, stretching the calf of the leg. This stretches the ligament from your calf down over the heel and up the ball of your foot to the big toe.
Sit on the side of your bed, place the sore foot on your knee, take hold of your big toe and gently rotate it from left to right, then reverse the rotation. You may notice the pain ultimately easing as you gently work your big toe.
Still seated, grasp the big toe and gently pull out or forward on it, stretching the ligament within the toe. Hold the stretch for five seconds, and then release it. Repeat the stretch several times.
The theory “No pain, no gain” does not apply for these exercises. Keep it gentle, slow and comfortable. Please bear in mind that while the treatments listed may bring relief to the symptoms, they will not actually solve foot deformity problems.