Natural Cures for Bunions

| Modified on Jul 08, 2024

As much as we are on our feet, foot issues can be cause for a drastic change in pace and even schedule. You can consider bunions one of those “foot issues” that has the potential to alter your daily life if you let it. However, it is also a condition that you can often treat effectively with natural cures. Some of the home remedies for bunions include chamomile, calendula, and turmeric.

What Are Bunions?

Mayo Clinic defines a bunion as a “bony bump” that develops at the base of your big toe on the joint. Most often, the deformity forms as you big toe pushes against the toe next to it and forces the joint out of alignment. This misalignment also causes the joint of your big toe to get bigger and to protrude further out than it normally would. While bunions are most common on the joint of your big toe, smaller bunions or bunionettes can develop on your little toes.

Are There Any Natural Cures for Bunions?

While most bunions do not require medical treatment, a podiatrist or orthopedic foot specialist can help you if you have persistent pain, a visible mass on your joint, or decreased movement in your toe or foot. Otherwise, bunions generally respond well to natural, at home remedies. Chamomile, calendula, and turmeric are three of the most effective natural cures, but there are other options as well.

1. Chamomile

Research presented by suggests that a number of herbal remedies are effective for providing relief from bunion issues – one treatment being chamomile. This herbal remedy contains anti-inflammatory properties that help shrink the size of your bunion and relieve pain associated with the condition. Try drinking chamomile tea and applying used teabags directly to your bunion.

2. Calendula

Calendula is a treatment supported by Dr. James A. Duke, as it also has anti-inflammatory properties. You can often find calendula compounds or ointments in health food stores or nutrition shops. Apply the compound to your bunions 2 to 3 times daily for up to a week.

3. Turmeric

Dr. Weil suggests using turmeric or other hot spices for treating bunions. The capsaicin contained in turmeric helps reduce inflammation and reduces pain. Try drinking 1 teaspoon of turmeric dissolved in 8 ounces of water as a natural anti-inflammatory.

WebMD also suggests the importance of staying active, wearing comfortable shoes, and protecting bunions or sensitive areas with moleskin. Try any combination of these natural cures, or keep reading below to find out more about treating bunions naturally with tips from our readers!

Bunions -
Bunions: Home Treatment -
Diseases and Conditions: Bunions -
Herbs That Shrink Bunions -

Avoid Wheat

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Posted by Pip (New Zealand) on 11/29/2019

I had trouble with inflamed bunions for years, then I stopped eating wheat. Inflammation stopped and bunions are gone..Big hard lumps are gone! Good if you can catch it early of course. Good health to all!

Bentonite Clay

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Posted by Jen (Longview) on 03/10/2018


Bentonite clay food grade all the way. Use this topically and with help of tea made of bay leaves to drink cured it fast.

Castor Oil

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Posted by PB (North Carolina) on 03/09/2019

I have a bunion that I suspected had arthritic fluid in it and was very painful. The pain would get worse days before it rained. There were days and weeks that I had to walk with a cane because the pain was so intense. My foot would swell up. I soaked my foot in Epsom salts and pink Himalayan salts but that didn't give me much relief. I even tried soaking my feet in oregano oil, that didn't help.

Finally I thought I would try my first ever castor oil pack on my bunion for an hour. It felt like the fluid was decreasing so I used a castor oil pack on my foot for the next four nights in a row for an hour. By the second night most of the pain was gone. I can't predict when the rain is coming now because I no longer feel pain in my foot days before it rains. It feels like 99 percent of the fluid is out of my foot now. I think I will try the castor oil pack on my TMJ and over my sinus areas next to see what happens.

Coconut Oil

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Posted by Brian (Sth Aus, Australia) on 10/15/2013

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.


Replied by Ashley

May I ask what type of bunion you were diagnosed with? I want to see if the oil massage would be worth a try. Is yours due to a structural change meaning your big toe was starting to rotate towards the next toe?

Replied by Brian
(Sth Aus)

Ashley, mine was a self diagnosis - not a medical one, of a Tailor's Bunion (aka Bunionette) - a lump at the outside base of my small toe, and definitely not a callus nor a corn. I had been wearing 'barefoot shoes' for years, no big toe rotation nor structural cramping at all possible. The Coconut Oil massages I gave it at worst cost 3 cents and 3 minutes of my time, and it has never reappeared in the 2 years since. I won't guarantee it will work for anybody else but is worth a go. Perhaps the longer the condition, the longer the treatment time.


1 User Review
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Posted by Jennysmom2 (Idaho, US) on 07/22/2015

I just want to say that ginger has almost completely gotten rid of the pain and inflammation I have from a bunion and general stiffness I have.

Of course you need to take it regularly, or the pain etc. comes back. I am on the go and work out of town, so a great solution for me is to keep candied ginger with me. (Not ginger candy) I eat a couple of pieces a couple of times a day. Some people may be concerned with sugar content, but this is good on the go solution for me.

Lugol's Iodine

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4 star (1) 

Posted by Catherine (Fort Lauderdale) on 06/05/2015

Bunions are bony formations under the skin, grown on metatarsophalangeal joint of a big toe. They have nothing to do with callouses. I have bunions, and my skin is perfectly normal above those bunions. My cousin suggested using iodine solution daily on top of bunions daily, and its seems to somewhat reduce those bunions.


Lugol's Iodine
Posted by Bill (San Fernando, Philippines) on 03/28/2014

I had bunions on both feet for many years and it wasn't till I came to the Philippines that I got rid of them completely. I had two large bunions, one on the top of my big toe and one at the base -- on both feet.

Doctors seem to believe that bunions are caused genetically or by rubbing on the shoe. I think this is bunk. Bunions are caused by deep-seated subdermal fungal/bacterial infestations in these regions. I also had very hard and unusual callous build up all around the back of my heels. And when you think about it, a foot inside a shoe wearing socks etc is a prime region for sweat build up and infections.

What's more, when I came to the Philippines and wore simple sandals and flip-flops every day (not shoes) my bunions still did not improve.

The fastest way to get rid of bunions/hard skin build-up on the feet is to first shave these regions down to the normal skin if you can and then apply a disinfectant like iodine to get rid of any discreet fungal/bacterial infections sub-dermally.

I would also not recommend topical application of lugol's iodine alone.

Only about 4%-8% of the iodine is absorbed into the skin this way. But if you use a 50-50 mix of one teaspoon of 70% DMSO(Dimethyl-sulfoxide) and one teaspoon lugol's iodine on the shaved bunion regions, you will get much faster results because of the penetrative and transdermal carrier abilities of DMSO. In other words DMSO carries much more iodine into the skin transdermally giving you faster and quicker outcomes.

DMSO is also an anti-inflammatory and will reduce the pain. Result: All bunion pathogens killed with no more bunion formation thereafter.

Replied by Jane

Hi Bill - Thank you so much for your answer!

Please can you remember how long it took before you saw a result?

I am so glad to have found Earth Clinic and your inspiring post. I would be over the moon if this worked for my bunion. Thanks you.

Replied by Bill
(San Fernando, Philippines)

Hi Jane...I can't really tell you exactly how long it took too cure my bunions. After I shaved the dead skin off my bunions and other areas down to bare skin, I think that I only used the recommended protocol for just over a month. That was at least 3 years ago as I recall.

Since that time, my bunions have never returned and the skin around the perimeters of my feet now feels like proper skin again and not like hard bulging leather. My extra advice to you is don't just treat the bunion area -- treat the whole foot, underside as well. That's what I did.

Replied by Jane

Hi Bill - Thank you so much for all your help and advice regarding this. I really appreciate your time and trouble.

Replied by Earthling2015

Hi Bill,

Thank you for this information!

I have a question for you. Do you keep the mixture on the area for a long time every day, or it simply wipe with cotton ball or cloth once a day?

Replied by Bill
(San Fernando, Philippines)

Hi...Earthling2015...Just apply the mixture to your bunion once a day. When I used the remedy, I applied the dmso/lugols iodine mix to the whole foot(for both feet) -- apply to bunions, sides, soles and back of the foot as well. Nothing fancy but just make sure to wipe over the whole area. Do this once a day. Also be advised to let the mix soak into the foot and dry off before putting on socks and shoes as iodine can stain.

Whenever I used this ready, I always used it directly after my shower at night -- just before bed. I just made sure it was dry and went to straight to bed. This way, there were no staining problems at all because I wasn't wearing socks or shoes.

Replied by Stephanie

Hi Bill,

I did exactly what you said, DMSO and Iodine. The thick skin over my bunion has hardened and turned white. Did that happen with you? Do you recommend scrubbing it all off and reapplying or does the white dead skin eventually fall off?


Replied by Bill
(San Fernando, Philippines)

Hi Stephanie...Yes, you should use a skin scraper - which is a bit like a miniature potato grater -- constantly to get rid of the dead skin and pathogens in the bunion region. Then use a rub stick -- a bit like fine grained sandpaper -- as you get nearer the new skin. Try scraping or rubbing like this gently once or twice a week as well as using the DMSO an iodine. You'll know when to stop scraping when you hit new skin -- that will cause a bit of pain, so be gentle with yourself.

When I got rid of my own pronounced bunions, I remember that I was constantly rubbing or scraping them down every week. And after you have rubbed down or scraped the bunion area, always lean and disinfect afterwards with the dmso and iodine. That means that there will be no escape for any annoying pathogens in that area...

Replied by jac
(East Coast USA)

I'm looking forward to trying your remedy, but wondering if there's any advantage of using Lugol's with DMSO (gel on order) as opposed to Povidone iodine?
Thanks much for your info!

(Florida, USA)

I had the same question. Lugol's is safe to use internally while Providone is for external use only. I'm assuming then that only Lugol's should be used.

Amazon has Lugol's (2%), 1 liter (33.8 fl oz) made by Heiltropfen for about $60. Lugol's has an indefinite shelf life.

Replied by Sam
(Fort Lauderdale)

Why 70% DMSO? I'm only finding 99% DMSO or 70/30 DMSO/Aloe Vera. Which is the best to use?

(Florida, USA)

The 99% DMSO should be okay. That's what I'm going to use as soon as the Lugol's Iodine arrives. When you mix the 99% DMSO with the Iodine, it will effectively be a 50% concentration. Side Note: DMSO will pass through most materials. Use only Glass or HDPE plastic containers. Mason jars make good chemical storage jars.

Replied by kimberly

"No more bunion formations" is good. But did the iodine actually remove the bunions so that your toe was then straight and in alignment? I don't have much pain, I am more concerned about the unsightliness and want the side of my foot to be straight.


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Posted by Nicole (Harmonsburg, Pa) on 10/18/2014

I have believed that massaging my bunions was one of the best things to do for them...I usually do it myself but I REALLY REALLY like it when my husband does it because he just seems to be able to grab them better and his hands are stronger than mine. The only problem is when I FINALLY get him to do it, he just does it for a couple of minutes or falls asleep..I massage his back and get it really good but he has no heart in it when it is my turn..What can I do to get the same passionate massages in return..HELP my bunions are killing me and I work in high heels for 5-6 hours every time I'm there!!! It's getting to the point that they hurt so bad ALL the time and just throb constantly!! I have to work tonight and I'm afraid that I am really going to destroy my feet if I keep on like this...I'm so screwed!!! :(

Replied by Mmsg
(Somewhere, Europe)

Nicole, it seems obvious that your high heels are causing your bunions. Read a bit of Katy Bowman's blog over at Can you find a comfortable and fashionable shoe to work in?

Replied by Tina
(Kirkland, Wa)

Yeah, I'd ditch the shoes in a heartbeat! Find some comfortable shoes in a wide width... and go barefoot at home whenever possible. Earth Shoes or Aerosoles are good options for fashionable comfy shoes. I actually have some very comfy Naturalizers that get compliments often - and I've stood for hours and walked for miles in those without a complaint.

Replied by Jac
(East Coast USA)

Have your employers no compassion? You must wear something more humane to work in or you'll suffer more and more as time goes on.

It's time to reassess priorities if this is what it comes to. Also, tell your husband exactly how important this is. If he truly loves you, he won't allow you to suffer. -What price fashion?

Posted by Sian (London) on 07/29/2013

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.

Replied by Catherine
(Wellington, New Zealand)

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.

Posted by Idow (Naples, Fl) on 02/28/2013

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!

Posted by Casey (Grand Rapids, Michigan) on 08/29/2012

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!

Posted by Ari (Atlanta, Georgia) on 06/10/2011

Oil Massage for Bunions

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!

Posted by Ais (Dublin, Ireland) on 06/02/2011


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!

Posted by Dianne (Kansas City, Missouri) on 07/31/2009

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!!

Posted by Jencia Barnswallow (Houston, Texas) on 06/19/2008

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

Replied by AMD
(V Ville, CA)

Now that is love....sweet.

Replied by Bonita
(Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Bunions are actually caused from too tight shoes, compression of toes, which causes the big toe to get out of joint. Its basically dislocated. I guess physical therapy is a good thing to do. Or self manipulation/massage... hard to do when yourself esp cuz it hurts. Castor oil lubricates the joint.

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