Natural Cures for Bunions

| Modified on Aug 15, 2022
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

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.

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!!

Coconut Oil
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.


Castor Oil
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.

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!

Lugol's Iodine
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.


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 Maxine (London, England) on 10/12/2008

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.

Posted by Mmsg (Somewhere, Europe) on 10/19/2014

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?

Posted by Tina (Kirkland, Wa) on 03/27/2015

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.

Peppermint Essential Oil
Posted by Lisa (Ny, Ny) on 08/02/2009

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!

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!!! :(

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!

Vitamin A
Posted by Joyce (Joelton, Tn) on 12/28/2009 495 posts

Been browsing some old newsletters of Jonathan Wright's and came across this and started wondering if calloused heels and cracked heels might not have the same basic problem. Some of EC'ers might like to try this & see if it could get rid of them.

Subject: callouses on heels (wonder what this would do with the cracked heels?)


Get rid of calluses for good

Q: I've had very thick heel calluses for most of my adult life. I've tried everything from lotions to scraping to soaking and nothing seems to work. Is there anything that will help?

Dr. Wright: In the 1970s, I read a book about nutrition and general medicine written by a Yale professor. In that book, he observed that heavy heel calluses were a sign of long- term vitamin A deficiency. He recommended vitamin A supplementation for individuals with this problem.

Since that time, I have recommended the same treatment for my patients and have found it quite reliable, although in many cases it takes three to four months to begin to see results, and complete disappearance of the calluses can take eight months or more.

For adults, the dose is 75,000 units of vitamin A per day until the calluses are gone. Then you can decrease your dose to a "maintenance amount" of 15,000 to 25,000 units per day. (If the calluses return, the quantity can be increased once more.) In over 20 years, I've never observed any adverse effects with this treatment.

Avoid Wheat
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!

Lugol's Iodine
Posted by RonEBorden (Florida, USA) on 10/01/2021

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.

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!

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