Minimally Invasive Alternatives to Bunion Surgery

bunion, surgery, toe, pain, avoidance

Bunions are a common and often painful foot complaint for which surgery is often the recommended solution. But surgery requires months of recovery before you’re back to full function. Plus, it’s possible for the bunion to form again after the surgery, especially if you don’t change the habits that caused the bunion in the first place.

Minimally invasive alternatives to bunion surgery are available and may be preferable, especially if your bunion isn’t causing frequent pain or interfering with everyday activities. At The Center for Podiatric Care, we help men and women in the New York City area overcome bunion pain without the inconvenience and discomfort of surgery. Here are some of the alternatives to bunion surgery:


A first step you can take at home to alleviate the pain caused by an irritated bunion is to simply take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If these are insufficient in controlling your pain, you may be eligible for cortisone injections to soothe pain temporarily as they relieve inflammation.

Better shoes

Women are far more likely to suffer from bunions due to narrow-toed shoes and high heels that tip your weight forward and push your toes into the front of your shoes. The shoes aren’t the cause, but they can contribute to bunion formation in a susceptible foot.

Wear roomy, comfortable shoes with a wide toe box and little or no elevated heels. You want little or no arch support and an overall lightweight and flexible design. The shoes should encourage natural foot movement.

Shoe inserts

Inserts, especially customized ones that we create at The Center for Podiatric Care, can help distribute pressure evenly. This can reduce bunion pain and prevent it from getting worse. Sometimes over-the-counter inserts can work, but you’re much better off getting ones made for your feet and the particular irregularities that caused the bunion deformity.

Our doctors may also offer you a night splint to hold your toe in position and avoid pain while you sleep.

Moleskin and pads

Moleskin and gel-filled pads made especially for bunions are available at drug stores. You do need to ensure you’re wearing shoes wide enough to accommodate the padding.

Toe spacers

You place toe spacers (also called bunion splints) between your toes to help gradually move your toes back to a more natural position. This way, they stop pushing the bunion out and reduce or eliminate symptoms. In some cases, our doctors may tape your feet into a more normal position to reduce stress on the bunion.

Toe exercises

You can stretch your toes with gentle massage. And range-of-motion exercises can retrain your feet and toes to move in a natural direction. We can teach you these exercises so you can do them at home.

You can ease bouts of serious bunion irritation and inflammation with warm foot soaks and ice packs. The team at The Center for Podiatric Care may also suggest whirlpool and ultrasound for immediate pain relief.

If you do end up needing bunion surgery, you can trust our expert team to perform simple and complex bunion surgeries and toe reconstruction if needed. We only refer you to surgery if noninvasive methods fail to bring relief.

If you suspect you have a bunion forming or you have one that’s been bothering you for a while, call our office or schedule a consultation online.

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