Bunion Treatments BEFORE Surgery

by | May 25, 2021

If you have a bunion, there’s a good chance you’ve been dreading the very real possibility that, sooner or later, you’ll end up needing to put your foot on a surgical table. You may have even resigned yourself to that fate—and as a result, you might be dragging your feet (metaphorically speaking) when it comes to seeing a podiatrist about your bunion.

But here’s something you should know: waiting until your bunion is large and extremely painful is the absolute last thing you want to do.

We consider surgery to be a last resort for bunions, and the truth is that there’s often quite a lot you can do to ease your bunion pain—and even slow its progression—well before surgery enters the picture. You may even be able to delay the need for surgery indefinitely! 

In fact, we even have a number of products available in-store and online that may be able to provide you with some relief. And the earlier you start to pursue these non-surgical alternatives, the more likely they are to help you.

What Are My Conservative Treatment Options?

Your first step is to come see us for an appointment. The sooner the better.

Dr. Elenburg and Dr. Knight will carefully examine your bunion, as well as talk to you about your symptoms and your lifestyle. Are you experiencing pain? How much? Is it worse with certain shoes, certain activities, etc.?

Based on the evaluation and discussion, one or more conservative treatment options may be recommended.

Bunion Padding

Often, the source of the pain isn’t necessarily the bunion itself, but the pressure and friction created between the bunion and the inside of your shoe. This can lead to uncomfortable corns and blisters. Wearing bunion pads, then, can protect your skin and alleviate the discomfort.

Products we carry include:

  • Dr. Jill’s Bunion Cushion ($11.05). A gel pad that easily slips over your big toe and covers the bunion to provide excellent, soft cushioning between the bunion and the shoe. Can be used with all styles of footwear and is washable and reusable.
  • Dr. Jill’s Tailor’s Bunion Cushion ($11.05). The same as the bunion cushion, but for people with tailor’s bunions/bunionettes, which affect the fifth toe rather than the first toe.
  • Moleskin Pads ($7.37 per bag). A simple, thin, yet heavyweight cotton fabric that can reduce pressure and friction on the bunion (or other sensitive spots). Sticks to the skin via a sticky adhesive backing. Cut to size as needed. 
  • Toe spreader ($3.58). This simple tool can help maintain alignment between toes, in particular helping to keep the big toe from rubbing up against the second toe painfully.
  • Corn pads ($6.44 per bag). If your bunion is indirectly causing corns to develop on other parts of your feet or toes, a corn pad can help relieve painful pressure and friction.

Wider Shoes

If your bunion is still relatively minor, you may simply need to pick up a new pair of off-the-shelf shoes with greater width in the ball-of-foot area in order to reduce the painful pressure. We are happy to recommend some good footwear options to you, and we even supply coupons to area shoe stores that are likely to have what you need.

If your bunion is more severe, however, you may be better off with shoes made specifically for people with bunions or related deformities. Although they may look like regular shoes on the outside, they are designed with features especially beneficial for people with bunions. This often includes things like stretchable fabrics, non-binding construction, extra width and depth in the toe box, and extra padding at the front of the shoe.

Orthotics or Arch Supports

In many cases, bunions are linked with a fundamental issue with the structure of your feet. Wearing an appropriate set of orthotics or arch supports can not only offload pressure from painful areas, but may be able to slow the bunion’s rate of progression, too.

We carry a selection of high-quality arch supports through our office and online store. The Cadence Red may be a good choice, as it’s designed to help take pressure off the balls of the feet and may help with conditions that tend to be linked with bunions, such as Morton’s neuroma. However, we’ll want to take a closer look at your feet before making any specific recommendations.

Cadence Premade Arch

Our Philosophy About Bunion Care

Although Dr. Elenburg and Dr. Knight are experts in performing advanced bunion surgery—including both Lapiplasty and miniBunion—we really do consider it a last resort. Our goal is to get you back to your daily activities without pain, and to do so using the simplest, least invasive, least disruptive procedures applicable to your situation. 

We know that most of our patients want to avoid surgery, and we’re happy to provide them with alternatives if we can. While specialty shoes or other conservative treatments cannot correct a bunion, if they can take away your pain and allow you to do all the things you need and want to do with your life, we consider that to be a highly successful treatment.

Yes, sometimes surgery truly is required. But the good news is that these newer, more advanced bunion surgeries have very high long-term success rates and can provide a more permanent solution to your bunion problem when nothing else seems to work.

Either way, we’ll be with you every step of the process, from initial diagnosis to treatment and beyond. We can prescribe non-surgical treatments first, evaluate the results, and help you determine if and when you might need to move onto the next phase—whether that’s 6 months, 5 years, or 10 years down the line.

And, not to sound like a broken record, but it’s worth repeating: the sooner you see us, the better chance you have at non-surgical treatments working better and lasting longer. You don’t have to wait until your bunion is too large and too painful to navigate your day-to-day life. The best time to see us is always right now!

To request an appointment with us in Oklahoma City, call our office at (405) 418-2676, or contact us online.

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Oklahoma City Office:
609 W Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73114

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