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Does anyone have any advice on coping with bunion pain. The doctor doesn't seem to want to know but I am in constant pain.

11 Replies

You can buy a neoprene splint that holds the toe seperate from the others. I found this helped. Also volt oral gel. Why will dr not send you to get it straightened? I had mine done in January this year.


Hi rowantree,Thanks for your comments.I have had bunions on both feet for some years now. I also have arthritis in the toe bones.Gp sent me to see podiertry a few years ago but all they offered me were some insoles that raised the back part of the foot,saying it would take the pressure of the front of the foot.When I asked about surgery they didn't want to go that far.Needless to say the insoles caused even more problems and when I toldemth that,I was offered not further treament.


This week I went to an evening on "Happy Feet." One of the speakers was a leading consultant on foot surgery. He showed pictures of bunion surgery - for those with and without arthritis, and was saying how much it has changed in the last few years, with early mobilisation, little pain etc. I'd certainly ask my doctor for a referral to an orthopaedic - or preferably foot orthopaedic consultant.

I've been incredibly lucky, as although my mother had quite severe bunions, I've escaped. He says that although footwear can play a part, they now believe it is mainly genetic.

Voltarol or ibuprofen gel/cream may help deal with acute pain and inflammation.

Good luck.



Thanks Ann, I think I shall have to pester my GP again. I heard yesterday that my nephew is having surgery for a big toe he must brocken years ago. I wish him well but it doesn't seem fair.


Hi Beaton,

I am a podiatrist, so I'll try to answer this with the information that I have. I'm not sure if your bunions are of the type where there is deviation of the big toe towards the other toes (known as hallux abducto-valgus, or HAV), or where there is no deviation, but a bony overlay on the joint, making it more prominent (hallux limitus). They're both caused by similar things, but the treatment is slightly different.

As they gave you something for the back of your foot, my guess is that this was probably a wedge, narrower on the outer side than the inner; this is designed to hold your foot in a more functional position, and prevent further damage, but it doesn't do much to alleviate the existing pain. That said, it's always best to go back to the podiatrist if they haven't worked, or have made things worse, as there's generally a second or third treatment option.

As you are keen on surgery, this is an option, provided that your general health is ok, and that someone is available to help you, as you'll be a lot less mobile for around 6 weeks post-op. They'll also be concerned about footwear (even after surgery, poorly fitting shoes can make the issue recur), bone density, and smoking (delays healing). Your best bet at this stage is to ask your GP to refer you to a podiatric or orthopaedic surgeon for assessment (dependent on which you have in your area) and take it from there.

In the meantime, go for wide, deep footwear, with laces, buckles, or velcro, (if your feet are really wide, Cosyfeet or similar are a good bet), try the gels recommended by others, and pester the doctor until you get the referrals that you need.

Good luck!

Sara x


Thanks Sara,Good to talk to someone professional.I do have deviation(on both feet) and I know my feet roll inwards,which adds more pressure to the joint.The insoles I was given lifted the arch slightly and finished just below this point.They were so difficult to wear as they pushed the rear of the foot above the shoe line.I wear Hotter shoes with a deep toe box.I have always worn good fitting shoes as I have worked on my feet all my working life.I have never smoked and have always been in good health.Podiatry don't seem interested.So I think I shall have to ask my GP to refer me to an orthpaedic surgeon.

Thank you for your advice,it's good to have the knowledge with which to go forward. xx


Dear Sooty B,

Wonderful to have a professional giving guidance on such a confusing subject.

I wonder, can you tell me if people should be declaring their bunions as a matter of course as a 'pre-existing medical condition'? I forget that I have bunions, and have not thought of them much for years until other conditions made travel insurance an ordeal.

I saw a consultant in the late 90s, manily because they are ugly, and he was going to shave the bony growth (My big toes do bend in, although my other toes are not too cramped or overlapping. I'd put off the op for a couple of years as I was not able to be inactive, and an osteopath friend told me that the surgeon in question was a butcher, and that I should not have bunion surgery lightly as there was always the possibility of mobility being worse afterwards - especially as I wasn't suffering that much. He sent me to a brilliant podiatrist, who recommended a surgeon who had trained in the US, and who would be able to do the specific op my bunion needed. Whe I eventually saw theis wonderful man in 2004, he said I didn't need an op unless I developed pain, and it prevented me doing the activities I love. 9 years later and I still have no pain, have full flexibility with no obvious o/a, and my gait and posture is not affected. So, should I be declaring them. All advice gratefully received.

Many thanks


I had awful pain for the first week post op, then it was much better. I had a big bandage for two weeks and had to heel walk which made my foot ache a lot. It was v uncomfortable at night too. I needed crutches for the first 3 weeks. After the first two weeks the bandage was removed and I just wore the flat Velcro surgical shoe for 4 more weeks. Quite limiting for walking but not too bad for pain, after the first week. Unfortunately I developed tendonitis in my other ankle and both wrists from favouring the other foot and using crutches! But then I probably have hypermobility syndrome so that's why. Good luck with the surgeon.


Thanks Rowantree,The more info. I have the better. I hope you feel better.x


I went back to my GP last week and asked about bunion surgery again.I would have liked to have keyhole surgery but it is not available here in Cornwall. my GP said conventional surgery is almost barbaric and would not advise it.My nephew has declined to have surgery also, (from a different area.)


The best way to reduce the pain associated with bunion is to wear properly fitting shoes, designed with a high, wide toe box (toe area). Also, by using pain killers such as ibuprofen. Check this link for how to overcome Bunion Pain: footsolutions.com/store/ann...


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