Have your toes recently started to hurt? Are you noticing weird bumps on your toes? If you answered “yes” to either or both of these questions, then you most likely have a bunion. While it’s not a life-threatening matter, having bunions nevertheless can be extremely painful when walking or running, let alone annoying in day-to-day activities.
However, there’s a way to fix it. In this article, we’ll tell you just what is a bunion, as well as give you information on how it forms and also how to get rid of it. Pretty soon, your toes will be back to their normal shape in no time!
What Is A Bunion?
Also known as hallux valgus, a bunion is essentially a bony bump that forms on the big toe. It occurs when the big toe gets pushed towards the other toes, which results in the metatarsal bone of the big toe being pushed out, thereby forming the unusual hump. Essentially, it’s progressive deformity in the bone, which over time may or may not get worse, depending on the individual
How Do Bunions Form?
More often than not, bunions form due to genetics; it might run in the family, and so by looking at whether your relatives have the abnormal toe growth, you can infer whether you have it as well.
Additionally, bunions might be induced by arthritis as you get older, or perhaps if you have leg-length discrepancies, i.e. one leg is longer than the other, so it results in uneven running gait. If you tend to overpronate, then your chances of developing bunions increase as well.
Unfortunately, women are especially prone to getting bunions, for many shoes that are specially designed for them tend to be narrow-toed, as seen in ones such as high heels, flats, close-toed shoes, and so forth. As a result, it crowds the toes together, thereby not allowing them to move around and adding pressure to the bones underneath them.
Are There Health Risks To Having Bunions?
While not necessarily damaging in the long run, bunions can nevertheless affect the quality of life for those who have it. For instance, you might experience pain in the lower body, including the legs, knees, hips, and back.
As a result, it might inhibit or prevent you from going about your everyday activities with ease, whether it’s walking, running, or even doing chores. Anything involving pressure on your feet is affected, which makes doing things very frustrating at times.
How Do You Get Rid Of Bunions?
Whether you choose to opt for surgery or do it in a natural fashion, here are some ways to get rid of those pesky bunions:
1. Switch out your shoes.
Believe it or not, the shoes you’re wearing can have some bearing on your toes, literally and figuratively. If you often wear high heels or running shoes that are too tight around your toes, then perhaps it’s time to exchange them for a pair of new ones.
That said, look for ones that have a relatively large toe box, so that your toes can have enough space to wiggle around in. For some tips to get you started, check out our article on finding the best running shoes.
If you are not certain about where to start in terms of finding a good shoe with a large enough toe box, we got you covered! Here are our picks for the best running shoes for that occasion:
Altra Men’s Torin 2 running shoe offers an ideal anatomical toe box in which your toes can fit comfortably with enough space to get you through the long, exhausting workout. Besides providing ample room for those little toes, this running shoe has excellent mono-mesh material, as well as a dual layer AltraBound cushioning to keep your feet well-supported and at ease even during the toughest runs out there.
- Has an anatomical toe box that is meant to fit and adapt to different toe shapes for a more-personalized shoe-fitting experience.
- Contains mono-mesh material for a sleek look, along with a breathable shoe to keep moisture away.
- Has a special dual layer AltraBound cushioning feature for a well-supported feet.
- Might not last very long, in terms of quality and manufacturing.
Altra Men’s Torin 2 running shoe was incredibly comfortable: after purchasing and trying them on, I set about getting right into shape. Not only is the toe box spacious, but also it provides breathable space to give my toes ample wiggle room and thereby reduce chances of developing bunions. After 50 miles, though, I did notice it starting to wear off, but otherwise decent shoe.
This particular running shoe from Reebok has a distinctive toe box in that it has quick-drying H2O drain ports, so that moisture does not get trapped inside of the toes and subsequently gives you a dry experience while running. Not only that, but it keeps the toes comfortable and less prone to getting bunions. Aside from its sleek shape and design, this running shoe has a special cushioning midsole for medium arches, so as to keep them supported when going out for a run.
- Contains a quick-drying H20 drain port feature at the toe box to keep the toes cool and dry while running.
- Has a DirtShield feature near the shoelaces for excellent protection when running through rugged terrain, thereby keeping the shoes clean.
- Consists of a cushioning midsole for supporting medium arches.
- There is a lack of cushioning in the foot bed, which might make it uncomfortable after wearing for long periods of time.
Reebok Women’s All Terrain Thunder 2.0 running shoe turned out to be rather useful in that it kept my toes nice and dry even during the sweatiest of runs. I was pleasantly surprised that the toe box was fairly spacious for my toes to feel less cramped, as well as the fact that the shoe had extra protection for rugged terrain with its DirtShield feature. While I wish that there was a bit more cushioning in the foot bed, it has been a relatively pleasant wearing experience so far.
Although Hoka One’s Clifton 3 running sneaker shoe for women does not explicitly have a toe box, nevertheless its wide-foot design substitutes as the toe box for runners with wide feet; it allows for more room for the toes to move around in. Besides that, its synthetic-and-mesh combination offers cushioning and durability, able to make you comfortable and last a long time, respectively. Not only that, but its SpeedFrame technology offers an ultra-lightweight experience while also keeping the forefoot from getting irritated.
- Has a wide-foot design in the forefoot for more ample room for the toes.
- Contains a synthetic-and-mesh combination for cushioning and durability..
- Has a SpeedFrame technology that is not only lightweight, but also prevents forefoot irritation.
- Cushioning can wear down rather quickly, especially after 100 miles.
Hoka One’s Clifton 3 running sneaker shoe turned out to be a pleasant investment: after receiving them, I tried them on and began running with them. The results turned out rather nicely, for the wide-foot shape in the front gave my toes enough room to move around in. I was super surprised by how light, yet supportive it was. Then again, the cushioning did wear out quite fast, even though it had a very thick sole to start out with.
Nike Men Air Max sequent running shoes offer plenty of breathability, as well as protection from all sorts of rough and challenging terrains that you might come across while running. Its U-shaped air max unit provides shock absorbency when you heel strike, so that your feet do not need to suffer from such an impact. In addition, it has a breathable mesh upper for wicking away moisture as you perform the toughest of workouts.
- Consists of a U-shaped air max unit for absorbing the impact when you heel strike.
- Has a breathable mesh upper for moisture-wicking technology.
- Has a solid rubber outsole with has prominent grooves for a more flexible forefoot experience.
- Toe box might be a bit snug, which might not work for large-toed runners.
After trying on and running in Nike Men Air Max sequent running shoes, I found them to be both very breathable, protective, and even flexible. They are quite versatile when it comes to running all over different terrains, which is much appreciated. Granted, the toe box ended up being a bit too snug for me, but might be just right for smaller, narrower feet.
This product from Salomon is well-known for having excellent grip on even the slipperiest of surfaces, so that you do not need to worry about slipping and sliding when the ground is wet. Aside from that, it is made from water-resistant material, along with anti-debris features to keep your shoe (and feet) clean and dry. Its combination of Sensifit and Endofit technologies provide the ideal fit for you, whether you have wide feet, long toes, or anything else out there.
- Has a solid gripping feature to prevent slipping and sliding everywhere when out for a run on wet or unstable surfaces.
- Made from water-resistant and anti-debris material to keep you cool and dry as you run.
- Contains Sensifit and Endofit technologies for the ultimate shoe-fitting experience.
- Toe box might be too narrow for certain foot sizes and shapes.
Salmon Men’s Speedcross 4 trail runner was great in helping me run through trails without fretting about slipping or tripping on rocks and other objects during rainy, wet season, thanks to its strong-grip technology. My toes were able to fit into the toe box, which was a tad on the snug side, but otherwise it worked; I can imagine, though, that it might be too small for larger feet.
Best Running Shoe for the Toes: Although all five of these products have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to keeping your toes breathing and comfortable, as well as avoiding bunions, our best pick would have to go to Altra Men's Torin 2 Running Shoe (#1). Besides being super comfortable, its anatomical toe box went above and beyond with the right balance of space and snugness, so that the toes can be well-adjusted for any type of terrain out there. It is worth a try!
2. Consider getting good running socks.
Aside from switching out your running shoe after they have worn out and/or for a larger toe box, wearing running socks especially designed for the sport can make a huge difference in how you feel, as well as prevent bunions from forming.
For instance, material such as cotton do not allow for much breathing room, if not suffocating your feet and toes. Getting socks with a lighter, more breathable feel (e.g. polyester and polyurethane) is a better option, as well as those which have a bunion cushioning that is padded outside of the foot, perhaps even a toe separator between the first and second toes to prevent blisters.
Just like with the running shoes, we also have some great suggestions for running socks to prevent bunions:
Besides protecting your toes from getting those awful bunions, these socks from Physix Gear Sport also offer compression for your feet and calves to get the circulation going for the ultimate running experience. They can be worn in just about anything, from long hot runs to walks, even rock climbing! They offer shock absorption, along with a Lycra fabric made for durability, so that you do not need to worry about feeling uncomfortable during any sort of activity.
- Offers compression for better circulation and overall an improved running experience.
- Has shock absorption and is made from Lycra fabric that ensures durability over a long period of time.
- Is versatile for not only running, but also walking, jumping, and even rock climbing.Cons:
- The seams above the toes can rub a bit, which might not be as comfortable as expected.
Although I did not expect Physix Gear Sport’s compression socks to help with my bunion problem, they surprisingly did! Not only that, but also they offered great circulation in my feet and calves, especially to keep them nice and warm for a faster warmup. I have also worn these socks for walking and other sports, which was a plus.
However, the only problem was the seam design, which I did not particularly feel at ease with since they rubbed a bit over my toes.
Specifically designed for providing bunion relief, Sockwell’s socks for women are worth giving a wear. Especially when it has a separate cushioned toe for reducing friction between the big toe and the second toe, it prevents aspects such as blisters from forming. The padding alongside the toes helps prevent bunions from developing as well. Finally, its comfortable wool material and arch support makes for a warm and comfortable wearing experience.
- Includes padding along the toes that are designed specifically for providing bunion relief.
- Made from comfortable wool material for warmth.
- Has a separate cushioned toe to decrease friction between the toes to prevent other problems such as blisters from happening.
- Wool material might make your feet sweaty, especially under hot conditions.
Sockwell Women’s sport ease bunion relief socks were wonderfully designed for helping me prevent bunions from forming: I enjoyed how there was padding along the sides of the sock near the big toe so as to avoid bunions.
Not only that, but the separate cushioned toe was a nice touch when it came to reducing friction between them, since I usually have a problem with getting blisters in that area.
My only issue with this pair of socks from Sockwell is the fact that it is made from 34 percent wool, which in the end can be quite hot and stuffy if worn for long periods of time. All the same, it helps combat bunions!
These special compression socks from Blitzu provide the necessary pressure to keep your toes in line as you run, so as to prevent them from going astray and subsequently leading to bunions. Such socks also go up to your calves, which as a result can help do away with other problems, such as varicose veins, blood clots, and so forth. They are highly durable and appropriate to use for even the most intense activities, such as marathons and extreme sports. No pinching involved, and they come in all sorts of colors to keep you interested!
- Strong compression material to keep your toes in line and prevent bunions from forming.
- Also prevents varicose veins, blood clots, and other leg and foot problems from coming about.
- Come in a variety of colors to choose from, as means of spicing up your wardrobe.
- Can be difficult to put on since for some they might be overly compressed.
What I found after trying on Blitzu compression socks in the end was how different my feet and toes felt…in a good way! Wearing this pair has helped the small bunion go down in size, as well as keeping my calves nice and compressed for better circulation when I warm up during runs. They come in a variety of colors, which for me being a color-coded kind of person, I enjoyed that.
Granted, they might be a bit too tight to put on for certain leg and feet shapes and sizes, so perhaps knowing your size can help out.
Made from materials like cotton and spandex, Flesser’s five-toe separator socks are ideal when it comes to treating problems in and around the toe area. Its cotton-spandex fabric makes for not only a flexible feel, but also a warmer one, so that you can enhance circulation in the feet and toes as you run. By having a five-toe separator feature, the socks not only help prevent cross infection between the digits from happening, but also they slow down bunion development, so you have more time to try it and such.
- Made from cotton and spandex material, for warmth and flexibility, respectively.
- Has a five-toe separator features to avoid cross infection between each digit.
- The five-toe separator can also slow down bunion development so as to give you enough time to act on what to do next in the healing process.
- Material might be too bulky, especially when it comes to wearing running shoes over them.
Flesser’s five-toe separator socks were quite comfortable and snug when I first put them on; not only that, but they were warm and flexible to be stretched out and worn while going around doing my daily activities like household chores, exercises, and even work.
Although I found it weird at first, the five-toe separator has been very handy, as means of avoiding cross infection and slowing down bunion development.
True, I thought that the socks were quite bulky to place into shoes, but otherwise, it worked out in the end.
This minimalist style sock from Meaiguo offers a five-toe separator as well, in order to help your toes move in a natural manner, as done so if you were to go barefooted. Not only that, but also its design is low-cut, so that you can hide the length of the sock under any shoe, including running pairs or even high heels. Wearing such an item also prevents allergies and athlete’s foot from happening, too, while also people might found absolutely shocking in terms of its strength.
- Has a minimalist style design that is no-frills and gets the job well done for running and other intense sports.
- Has a low-cut look to it, so that you can hide them inside of all sorts of shoes that makes for both a comfortable and aesthetically-pleasing experience.
- Made from a durable, flexibility, and comfortable material, this sock pair also prevents allergies and athlete’s foot from happening.
- Contains an unusual back flap on the socks themselves, which may or may not be uncomfortable for first-time users.
Overall, I found Meaiguo’s no-show toe socks to be quite nice, especially for its minimalist, low-cut design that is sure to help you out when wearing any sort of shoe out there, from running shoes to Vans to high heels. Not only that, but it is also durable and flexible to be worn and used for just about any intense sport out there over long periods of time.
That said, some people might find the strange back flap on the socks, to which some of its users might not enjoy so much. In any case, this particular line of sock works for any sporting occasion, while all the same contributes to the finding and acquiring of a decent sport sock for running.
Best Running Socks for the Toes: Even though all of these running socks selections are some of the best out there, the real winner of this group will have to go to Meaiguo Toe Socks No Show Running Five Finger Crew Socks for Men Women 4 Pack (#5).
This particular brand went over the minimum requirements when it comes to preventing bunions and other aspects like blisters and corns from forming, so as to keep the foot happy and healthy. It does so through features such as the five-toe separator, as means of preventing irritation between toes, as well as having a minimalist look to it, which garners its simple, but effective reputation.
Finally, having a low-cut aesthetic makes for a more streamlined appearance, which can affect just how you feel when it comes to getting out there and running your very best. In the end, it not only builds character, but also confidence.
3. Do some foot exercises.
- Besides stretching your legs and arms after a long, strenuous workout, it’s important to stretch your toes, too! Take a few minutes to wiggle them around to get them loose and flexible, before stretching each of them out, holding them for a few seconds before doing the others.
For some more toe-stretching exercises, check out this video here
4. Ice your toes.
- While wearing tight-fitted shoes don’t necessarily cause bunions, they can make them worse by causing them to rub against the shoe material, thereby leading to painful swelling.
Hence, icing your toes with either an ice pack or a shallow ice bath can help reduce the swelling of the toes. Do this for no more than 20 minutes at a time, and only when the bunions are swollen and uncomfortable.
5. Soak your toes in water.
- Aside from icing your toes, treat them to a warm, soothing soak in a shallow tub of water. Doing so can help improve blood circulation in the toes, as well as relax their muscles and prevent soreness.
In addition, you can add Epsom salt to the water to help reduce toe inflammation, and potentially lead to a decrease in bunion size over time. It doesn’t hurt to try!
Here are just a few more bunion-curing remedies that you can DIY at home, without the need to go to the doctor, let alone get surgery:
a. Massage in some soap.
Using a cheese grater, grate some flakes of soap off and lightly massage them into the affected area, making sure to apply a bit of pressure to really take effect. Rinse off the area well after you are done, dry it, and make sure to apply a bit of iodine to the surface to finish it off. Another solution is to mix equal parts of iodine and lemon juice together, then apply it to the bunion.
b. Bay leaves drink.
Aside from applying ointment to the surface of the bunion, you can also prepare a drink that you take orally in order to cure the problem. To start, take some bay leaves and crush them up, so as to release its therapeutic aromas and flavors. Make about a tablespoon’s worth. Add about 250 to 300 milliliters of water and heat it up, letting the bay leaves infuse into the liquid. Let it seep overnight before straining the leaves the following day.
Drink the tea throughout the day before preparing more for the next few days. The point of this remedy is to dissolve and otherwise flush out the salt deposits that accumulate inside of your bunion; within a week or so, you will start to see the affected area shrink in size, as the salt is leaving the body.
For more information on different bunion remedies to try out, check out this article here.
6. Use Bunion Aid.
- Just like a big Band-Aid, Bunion Aid is a product that you can apply to your feet and toes to relieve pain and correct the big toe structure. They are relatively inexpensive and can be found at almost any local drugstore.
To learn how to put on a Bunion Aid, watch this video here.
We also have a few brands of Bunion Aid to help you decide, so that you can get to healing in no time:
Consisting of both bunion correctors and bunion relief sleeves, Flyen’s bunion sleeves kit is packed with a comprehensive collection of different items to treat even the worse of bunions. By putting them on, you not only separate your toes to prevent rubbing and irritation, but also you straighten, stretch, and align them to correct how they are positioned on your feet, as means of healing them back to normal.
- Contains both bunion correctors and bunion relief sleeves for an all-inclusive healing process.
- They separate, straighten, stretch, and align your toes to a better position.
- Made from 100 percent silicone, which are not only flexible and comfortable, but also reusable.
- Can easily slip off, which can be annoying to continually reapply.
Flyen’s bunion sleeves kit was a pleasure to use, especially when I needed both something to help my bunions heal and something to correction just how my toes aligned, so as to prevent future bunions from developing. After putting them on, I was surprised that they managed to separate, straighten, stretch, and pretty much do everything to get the toes right into shape.
The fact that it is made from silicone was pleasant, for it was soft and able to be reused. Did not like the fact that it slips off easily, which is somewhat of a hassle to constantly reapply.
This particular bunion sleeve from Dr. Frederick’s comes in packs of two booties (i.e. slip-on bandages) that are incredibly useful should you have bunions on both of your feet. Not only are they convenient to wear, but they also come with padding around the outside of the foot near the big toe to heal the bunions in that area. The sleeves are also super stretchy, so that they can be worn on any foot size, from small to medium to large.
- Comes in a set of two booties for wearing on both feet, in case you have bunions on both of them.
- Designed with a gel pad in both booties to heal and otherwise prevent bunions from happening.
- Are made from stretchy material, which enables all foot sizes to fit quite comfortably in them.
- Not convenient to wear with shoes since the gel pad gets in the way of doing so.
Dr. Frederick’s original gel pad bunion sleeves are quite nice in that they come in a set of two: considering that I have bunions on both feet, having two of them really helps. I liked the gel pad on the booties, for they really benefited in protecting and healing the area around my big toe. I have medium-sized feet, and so I found the booties to fit just perfectly after a bit of stretching. My only gripe is that I cannot really wear close-toed shoes with it, since the booties bunch up as a result.
Not only does Dr. Koyama’s bunion kit treat those blasted bunions, but they also extend to treating other problems, such as blisters, corns, calluses, hammertoes, and so forth. That said, its eclectic healing abilities makes for a desirable product to obtain. With an ergonomic toe wrap and a bendable toe stabilizer bar, it helps to separate the toes from each other to help them heal efficiently and properly. In addition, the gel toe separator prevents irritation between the toes, and all of these items can be worn night and day for faster recovery.
- Not only heals bunions, but also blisters, corns, calluses, hammertoes, etc.
- Has an ergonomic toe wrap and a bendable toe stabilizer bar for separating and aligning the toes for better recovery.
- Can be worn all day and all night to help speed up the recovery process.
- Might start to feel uncomfortable in the night, especially if you are trying to sleep with it on.
After I purchased and tried on Dr. Koyama’s bunion kit, I was super surprised to discover that it not only healed my bunions, but also did some work to my blisters and calluses, which were amazing! Features such as the ergonomic toe wrap and bendable toe stabilizer bar were a plus, for they helped align my toes to a better position, so as to prevent such problems from happening again in the future.
I have been wearing them all day and all night and while it can get a bit uncomfortable keeping it on when I sleep (due to the fact that I toss and turn a lot, thereby taking my foot along with it), I have not had much of an issue with it all. Altogether, it has been a pleasant experience wearing it.
Coming in packs of five, DR JK’s bunion relief kit provides plenty of items to help your toes heal and get right back to normal in no time. They can be worn inside shoes with ease while at the same time get rid of hallux vagus sooner rather than later. The kit also comes with a toe separator, as well as bunion pads and soft medical grade gel that are easy to clean and can be reused to save up on having to purchase more in the future. Besides helping out with bunions, this kit also has the ability to fix hammertoe.
- Comes in packs of five, which is an ample amount to be used over a long period of time.
- Consists of a toe separator, bunion pads, and soft medical grade gel that can be easily cleaned and reused for later.
- Fixes not only bunions, but also hammertoe.
- Can be easily broken, which does not bode well for durability.
I liked the fact that DR JK’s bunion relief kit came with five BunionPals as means of backup and, in general, for long-term use. I also found it really neat that it came with a toe separator, bunion pads, and soft medical grade gel that not only prepared me for healing bunions, but also were made of material that could be easily cleaned and reused, so that I did not need to throw them out after every single use. Not only did it fix my bunions, but also, to my surprise, hammertoe!
Unfortunately, the BunionPals have a tendency to break easily, which kind of counteracted its claim to be durable and long-lasting. At the very least, there are five of them in total, so backup is always there should the occasion arise again (fingers crossed hoping that it does not!).
With a whopping 14-piece set, this other product from Dr. Frederick’s offers not only quantity, but also quality when it comes to fixing up those annoying bunions on your toes. What makes this particular item more desirable is that it comes in two types—Sports Pads and Standard Pads—depending on your lifestyle, whether you are active or resting, respectively. In other words, they are easy to switch out when it comes to what you would like to do at the moment. Finally, they are made from soft, flexible gel to give you that comfortable you need as your toes are healing.
- Comes in a 14-piece set, which is plenty for your bunion-healing endeavors.
- Consists of two types of pads—sports and standard—depending on whether you want to exercise or rest in them, respectively.
- Made from soft, flexible gel for that much-needed comfort as your toes heal.
- Can crowd the toes, or otherwise space them out improperly, which might lead to more problems than actually solving them.
This product from Dr. Frederick’s is not bad; I was especially very happy that it came in a 14-piece set, which if anything is plenty for me to use over a long period of time. Considering that I would still like to continue running and working out while my toes are healing, I do appreciate the fact that this product comes with two different types of pads depending on your lifestyle, sports and standard. That said, I have used the former whenever I want to go out running, and the latter when I am just resting at home. Granted, they are useful, but they do tend to crowd the toes and create odd spacing between them, so alignment is not the most ideal in the end.
- Best Bunion Aid for the Toes: Overall, this selection of different bunion aids are solid, but the best one would have to go to Dr. Frederick's Original 14 Piece Bunion Pad & Spacer Kit (#5).
- Not only does its 14-piece set sound really attractive, but also the fact that you have choices as to wear ones for sports or for standard moments. As for the weird spacing of the toes, as long as you are careful applying them each time, it should turn out all right in the end. With both quality and quantity well-balanced out with this product, it is certainly a win-win situation for your active lifestyle!
7. If anything else, consider surgery.
- While surgery is the quickest, easiest way to get rid of bunions, it can be costly and it’ll take time afterwards to let you toes heal; hence, you won’t be able immediately to get back into running!
Make sure that you talk with your surgeon before going through it, to make sure that you fully know the effects and consequences of having your bunion surgically removed. In the end, though, things should turn out for the better.
Overall, a bunion can be painful, even debilitating, when doing your daily activities. However, you can get back to doing what you love, e.g. running, by taking these measures:
- Wear shoes with more room for your toes.More often than not, the shoes you are currently wearing are too tight or restrictive on your toes, which causes the big toe to push on the second toe, thereby creating that nasty bump alongside the foot. That said, having enough room for the toes to breath is the way to go.
- Do toe stretches to keep them loose and flexible.Sometimes, it is a matter of loosening up your toes, which might or might not tighten or get cramped up due to long periods of wearing running shoes. Take your shoes off and let them have some time to breathe and wiggle around.
- Treat your toes with warm water, ice, or Bunion Aid.Depending on the severity of the bunion, you can prepare DIY solutions that are relatively inexpensive to help your toes heal. Solutions such as warm water with lemon juice and iodine are super easy, while ice can be a solid cure to reduce swelling. Bunion aid might be a good option for protecting the area as it heals.
- If all else fails, consider surgery.Under extreme circumstances should you consider this option; talk with your doctor to see if it is necessary, let alone worth it for the sake of your health.
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