Last Modified on Oct 15, 2013
A bunion is a bony outgrowth at the base of the big toe (most often) or little toe. This bony protrusion causes shoes to fit tightly and the affected toe to grow inward, squeezing the other toes together and causing pain through friction and compression of the toes of the foot.
Bunions form at the base joint of the toe bone and can be related to arthritis, though more commonly they are a result of habitually wearing shoes that are too tight for the feet. Calluses, corns, swelling, pain, and redness can be among the symptoms that accompany a bunion, all of which can make it painful to walk or to wear shoes.
Natural Cures: Using any sort of bunion pad can relieve the pressure on the affected toe. Wearing loose-fitting or open-toed shoes is essential. Pain relievers can be taken to relieve the discomfort and swelling. Daily massage with castor oil or another natural oil can reduce pain in the area and perhaps reverse the formation of the bunion.
|Oil Massage||5 YEAS|
[YEA] 10/15/2013: Brian from Sth Aus, Australia: "Coconut Oil
Just over a week ago I began to limp from minor pain in my left foot. Closer inspection revealed a lump protruding at the base of my small toe about the size of a pea. I have never experienced this before but I googled ‘bunions’ anyway and proceeded to tick every box for descriptions and matched every photo for the identification of a Tailor’s Bunion.
Whether it really was a bunion will never be confirmed by a doctor because it’s completely gone – no limp, no pain, no lump. But it sure is a strange place to get a pimple if that’s all it was.
The only treatment I used on it was a 1 minute morning massage with a tiny bit of Coconut Oil and then putting a sock on immediately after, for 3 days. That was it. On the 4th day all was well again so I stopped treating it and haven’t put a foot wrong since.
Learning To Stand And Walk Correctly
05/14/2013: Anon from Anon, Canada: "Hi, recently I've read that the way that a person walks and stands can be related to foot problems, including bunions. Many people have the habit of walking with their feet and toes turned outward, but they may not realize it. When a person walks that way, it's applying pressure to the wrong parts of your feet and this can lead to different issues over time.
It's best to walk and stand with your feet & toes facing straight ahead. It sounds simple enough, but it can be very easy to forget. A lot of people don't really think about what their feet are doing during the day, so it's a good idea to practice being more conscious of that area.
The comments about the oil massage on the bunions page are really interesting. Maybe improving the way one walks, combined with the oil massage could be helpful.
Calf stretches and massaging the bottoms of the feet (plantar fascia) are also a good idea. In addition, find out if your feet tend to over-pronate (a common problem), as this may also be related to bunions in some cases. There are foot exercises that can help with pronation as well. Also recommend searching for books about foot health (try doing a search on Amazon to get a general idea of what's out there)."
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 07/29/2013: Sian from London: "I have had a moderate bunion for three years on my right foot and the beginnings of one on my left.
I have been vigorously massaging my feet daily for 15 minutes for a few months and it has had an effect of reducing the inflammation in the toe joint. They are still red when I take my shoes off at the end of the day but they have definitely have improved and are not nearly quite as painful as before. I am going to stick with my foot massage and try adding Tagetes oil to my plain massage oil which is recommended for foot problems and there has been a lot of positive things said about this oil in recent years. I wear looser shoes now with a wider toe box - the tight, pointy shoes have all gone on Ebay. Also, one could try Pilates foot exercises to strengthen the feet.
I couldn't go as far to say massage can cure bunions as they are structural anomalies - extra bone has been formed on the toe joint, but it can bring great relief and stop the worsening of the condition."Replies
07/30/2013: Catherine from Wellington, New Zealand replies: "Hi Sian, There is a little known therapy called "Foot Joint Mobilisation" which has great success with bunions, hammer toes etc. Google for a practitioner in your area."
05/29/2013: Matthew from Middle Village, Ny: "I have had a Bunion on my right foot at the base of my big toe since I was a teen. It has never really caused me any pain but I'm wondering if I can now get rid of it without surgery. I have heard massaging the area helps to start the process. Any truth to this?"
[YEA] 06/19/2008: Jencia Barnswallow from Houston, Texas: "Oil Massage reduces bunion size.
My husband of 35 years had an extremely large bunion on his big toe.
It was so large the shape of his foot and toes were distorted and the skin so stretched and tight it looked as though it was about to split for a stretch mark.
Years ago when it became a problem, he learned his shoes were too small. Wearing looser shoes stopped the bunion growth and pain, but the size remained huge. The doctors suggested leaving it alone since the pain subsided. Still the distortion was pretty obvious and affected the way he walked. He also had huge very tough calluses.
Our friend suggested rubbing the toe and bunion area several times a day to increase circulation and blood flow to the area and encourage synovial fluid to move around the bones again. I set a timer nearby and began by placing a thick terry towel in my lap under his foot as I began rubbing his toe, bunion and lower foot along that side for 10 minutes every morning. A blister sometimes formed so I began to use a teaspoon of olive oil on his toe/bunion and massage while we talked or read. Occasionally, I would apply a little
more oil. We are usually reading during this time so the time goes quickly. The timer is helpful so you don't have to keep checking. When my fingers get tired, I use more of my palm to rub the area and then switch back to fingers again after a break. It is helpful to drink a lot of water before starting to get the body well hydrated which aids blood flow and movement of synovial fluid.
After a few days, I began rubbing up to 20 minutes and sometimes would do this twice a day, morning and evening depending on time availably.
We showed our friend again about a month later and he was shocked by the reduction in size and the looseness of the skin. I could literally pinch a half inch between my fingers by then, whereas before it was so tight, there was nothing at all because it was stretched so thin.
The increased blood flow encouraged by the massaging was moving synovial fluid and dissolving the outer layers of excess calcium of the bunion and it is literally being washed away.
We are in to the 2nd month now and it is already enough smaller he can wear a narrower shoe width again after 20 years.
We make a joke now that someday he will have such shapely feet again, that he might think about having skin reduction surgery because it really is quite similar to extreme weight loss leaving a lot of excess hanging skin. If not skin reduction surgery, then maybe a tiny little toe girdle? LOL"
06/20/2008: AMD from V Ville, CA replies: "Now that is love....sweet."
[YEA] 07/31/2009: Dianne from Kansas City, Missouri replies: "Jencia Barnswallow's remedy for bunions worked great for me! I had a bunion about the size of a walnut, and just recently my big toe was starting to turn and lay over the toe next to it, and I could tell the bunion was getting larger. All my shoes were starting to hurt my foot at that spot.
I put a little drop of olive oil (just enough to massage easily)in my hand and gently rubbed all around the big toe, bunion and down that side of my foot. I did it 10 minutes or so, twice a day, while I read or watched TV. I drank a full glass of water first like Jencia suggested to help get the synovial fluid moving. After just two days, I could already tell that the bunion was smaller!! After one week, I am thrilled with the reduction I can see - I wish I had taken a before picture. I will keep doing it - maybe after a month or so I won't have to do it every day, perhaps once a week? I really massage well around the base of the big toe because it does seem to be turning upright (as in "normal")again,instead of laying on the next toe. Thank you so much, Jencia, I never would have known to try this if you had not taken the time to write. I visit this site daily and just love it!!"
[YEA] 06/02/2011: Ais from Dublin, Ireland replies: "Hi,
I have had a relatively small bunion for some years now and have also found, despite being told that it is impossible to reduce the size of a bunion without surgery, that massage does make a noticeable difference!"
[YEA] 06/10/2011: Ari from Atlanta, Georgia replies: "If you will add a little TURMERIC powder to the oil... Like say some Castor Oil you will be thrilled at how quick the pain will stop from the Bunion! I did it and couldn't stop testifying for a month!"
08/05/2011: Cynthia from Crockett, Ca, California replies: "I just took a picture of my Bunion and have started the massage. I will let you know in a week how it looks... Thank you"
01/12/2012: Buniontreatment from San Luis Obispo, Ca replies: "Hi there! Have you tried Bunion Booties? Most of the women in my family wear them and love them. You order them to fit your foot (tip: most of us size down) and can wear them 24/7. They are so comfortable we prefer wearing them to not wearing them. A few ladies in my family have had surgery and had such terrible experiences the rest of us will do anything to avoid surgery. Recently my aunt stumbled upon Bunion Booties and we are all wearing them now and loving it!
02/04/2013: Sewfine from Naples, Fl replies: "I am almost 70 yrs old and have a bunion on my right foot , large toe. It doesn't hurt a lot because I have learned what shoes to wear. (sneakers & sandals) My toe is bent and covering my next toe.... Kind of ugly... I am going to try this oil massage...... I will NOT get surgery..... I have heard too many horror stories about that! I will take a picture today and start messaging today.... I'll keep you updated. Thanks for this wonderful site. I recommend it a lot!"
[YEA] 02/28/2013: Idow from Naples, Fl replies: "Thank you EarthClinic! I tried the massage (without oil), just manually moving the big toe both clockwise and counter clockwise..... and it worked!
I'm now able to wear my old high heel shoes, although I'm careful to take them off as soon as I get home.
The manipulation of the big toes have increased flexibility, reduced pain and decreased my bunions drastically. Sometimes I use coconut oil b/c it smells great, but most of the time I just massage while watching TV w/out oil. I also spread all my toes out a lot, now that I know the importance of stretching!"
08/27/2011: Janikaye from Bloomington, Mn: "I THINK I have a bunion starting to form on the left side of my right foot. I have started massaging it daily with castor oil / turmeric, and I do think that helps with the pain. However... What I am wondering is what can I do to prevent the problem from getting worse? Since it's just beginning, maybe someone has a prevention idea. Bunions do run in our family and I am just starting to get one at age 57. Thanks for your help."Replies
10/26/2012: Diane from Surrey, B.c. replies: "Standing on your toes and walking just on your toes gives instant pain relief. Spread the toes and put weight on the big toe area as you walk and feel the big toe moving in the opposite direction of the bunion. Stretching your big toe in the opposite direction of the bunion also gives relief. I heard of this some time ago and have a rather large bunion. Doing this daily keeps pain to minimum."
10/10/2013: Dr Phoenix from Windham Ohio replies: "Too much acid foods add to the issue if not a large portion of the formation of it. The bunion is on the side of the foot where the spleen channel flows from the inner edge of the hallux (big toe) sugar, alot of protein, coffee, nicotine, alcohol, refined foods, grief, anger, resentment also add to the problem. It is a result of long term imbalances, wrong food, over-consumption, combined with the emotions ate a biggy. Good luck"
08/07/2011: Candy from Fort Madison, Ia: "have read the bunion section but was wondering if anyone else has suggestions for bunions. I have one on the side of my small toe, and it is uncomfortable and I would like to do something before it gets worse.
thanks to anyone for suggestions."
04/10/2011: Jfm from London, England: "Hello to everybody. I need some help and wonder if someone could point me in the right direction, please?
I have a 10 year old daughter who was born with bunions. As far as I know, nobody else in the family has them. As the years have passed, the bunions have increased in size and are now quite large. My daughter is at an age where she is very self-consious of them and they do, at times, cause her quite a bit of pain. I buy her sensible shoes that will not rub against the bunions. Is there anything I can use to get rid of them?
Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you."Replies
04/18/2012: Kaz from Stoke On Trent, Staffordshire replies: "Hi, My daughter is just developing bunions, and is about to see a specialist. It looks like the bunions come due to a weakness in the foot structure. My daughter had pigeon toe when she was 4 or 5 and I was told to make her walk correct, but I believe she now has flat feet. I am at the beginning of this dilemma like you, and I am going to try massaging with oil, and taping her toe over at night. I also think that trainers with support, and wide (boys style shoes) for school will help. My other daughter who is 21 had feet problems, but she would only wear trainers and solid boyish loafers for school, and she is fine now, even though she has size 9 feet! I think if we adapt our girls feet by changing shoes and using home remedies we may have some results. I dont know whether the specialist will have any proper advice, but will go to see what they say! Good Luck and let me now how you are going on with your daughter, as a problem shared is a problem halved hahaha all the best Karen"
Shark Cartilage or Tiger Balm
[BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS] 03/01/2013: Chuck from Cape Coral, Florida: "I developed a bunion more than twenty years ago. I heard shark cartilage could help so I started taking it. The bunion shrank and I never even considered having surgery as my friend, Sandy, did. More recentyly I have used Tiger Balm (red) on it with good success as well."Replies
03/12/2013: Chuck from Cape Coral, Florida, United States replies: "What side effects were experienced?"
[YEA] 10/12/2008: Maxine from London, England: "Having suffered from bunions for some time the pain was becoming unbearable. Looking for a cure on the internet I came across this site and my goodness rubbing my bunion with turmeric eased the pain straightaway. It can be messy but just use rubber glove and place towel under foot and rub away the pain. It is so soothing. I used about 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and massaged into my bunion until it was soothed. It really does work - thank you earth clinic for your wonderful site and to all the contributors, keep up the good work."
[YEA] 08/29/2008: Pamela from Charlotte, North Carolina: "Turmeric cure for bunion pain. Rub dried turmeric spice directly on the bunion for relief. You can also take turmeric pills internally to reduce inflammation but I have not tried that yet. It is a bit messy to rub it on so I do it over the bathroom sink and use a plastic glove so that my hand does not turn yellow. I need to reapply every few days to keep the pain away. It is an easy remedy. You can buy Turmeric cheaply in bulk at the health food stores or in the spice aisle of the grocery store."Replies
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 08/02/2009: Lisa from Ny, Ny replies: "I had a bunion on my left foot that was making life miserable, when I came across this site. I tried the Turmeric cure listed here, and it was messy (!) but did reduce the bunion a bit. What has worked even better for me is doing the same massage technique with a drop or two of peppermint essential oil. Within an hour of this massage my bunion was greatly reduced, and i had much more mobility in the toes and foot. Peppermint stings, so test this out a little at a time, but for me it really helped!"
02/01/2011: Rosie from Austin, Texas replies: "Olive oil massage for Bunion -- I've started massaging my big toe bunion and joints with olive oil, using a spacer to align toe, and wearing wider shoes. I notice that my bunion feels more irritated since I've started the massaging. Is that typical for those of you who've used this method? Also wondered if there's something that encourages the cartiledge buildup in the joint to reduce. It's been a challenge finding the right orthodic inserts (?), spacers and doodads to align the toes, and excercises to help rebuild my foot strength. I'm sure you can all relate. Thank you for this 'alternative' site and your generous sharing."
11/30/2011: Sharon from New Orleans, La replies: "I was in tears after massaging my bunion. It seemed to make the pain worse. I tried the turmeric rub, and had instant reducion in my pain level. I'm a believer for life. Thanks for this site, I will cx my cortisone injection scheduled for tomorrow. Sharon"
[YEA] 04/20/2012: Wanda from Santa Cruz, Ca, Usa replies: "I have had an aunt and a niece who both correct their bunions using a combination of olive oil & turmeric (raw) massages, plus wearing a bunion splint at night & in the day when posible. The aunt's took longer but improved in weeks & both were almost gone in months (the girl's esp). Massage following techniques for stimulating blood flow and elongating muscles of feet 2 X day. Drink big glass of water before each massage. Exercise feet, esp skating, xcountry ski, beach walking, jogging. if u stick with it u will be amazed."
08/11/2012: Tw from Victoria, B.C., Canada replies: "where are the before and after pictures posted for these changes in bunion size?"
08/29/2012: Casey from Grand Rapids, Michigan replies: "I almost married a woman because she would massage my bunion. It helps SO MUCH and provides SO MUCH relief; provide this massage and please a sufferer beyond belief!"
12/22/2012: Cam from Vancouver, Wa replies: "I have read that you shouldnt apply any pressure to the bunion because that just causes it to grow quicker. Is this true? I also have a bunion that hasnt been bothering me until now. I cannot have surgery until im 21 but thats in 6 years and I dont like the effects of anesthesia or the sound of surgery in general so im just looking for an alternative..."
04/18/2013: Samigirl11 from Knoxville, Tennessee replies: "Thanks for the information everyone! I have always had bumps on the side of my feet by my big toe and just thought it was normal. Now the bumps are much bigger and very painful. Recently, I did notice that when I run longer than normal or run faster the bumps hurt really bad. My "bumps" are so big and the skin is stretched. I will take pictures of before and after and try the tumeric, olive oil rub and let you know. I am in so much pain that I had to stop my daily 3 to 6 mile running and go to the bike and weights. I wear heels only two times a week and flats and sneakers the rest of the time. Not sure why my feet are so prone to these massive eye sores. Thank you, S.A.M."