Up to one in three Americans have bunions or bony bumps that form at the side of the big toe. These bunions cause pain every time you put weight on your feet. You can remove bunions through surgery. But if you don’t think surgery is for you, you should consider the following bunion treatments:

Change in Footwear

Most bunions develop because of ill-fitting shoes that are too narrow at the front. This condition is most common for women who wear tight-fitting heels for several hours a day. Limited room in the shoes causes the big toe to fall out of alignment. This misalignment contributes to the development of bunions.

One of the easiest ways to reduce pain from bunions is to invest in shoes with wide toe boxes and soft soles. Switching to comfortable footwear is one of the most straightforward bunion surgery alternatives that have long-term benefits.

Over-the-counter bunion pads and tape can act as a buffer between your shoes and feet. Consult with your foot doctor about the best shoes and assistive devices for your condition.


Orthotics such as shoe inserts that distribute pressure on your feet and correct foot abnormalities can be helpful. You can purchase these over-the-counter, but it is not recommended by most podiatrists. You can also have them custom-made by your podiatrist to provide targeted support.

Custom orthotics might be one of the most effective bunion surgery alternatives. A person with inherited foot structure problems, like flat feet, is more susceptible to developing bunions. Your foot doctor can design an orthotic that can provide targeted support to vulnerable areas of your feet. If your job involves standing for long hours, consider investing in custom insoles based on an impression of your feet. Using orthotics can relieve painful symptoms and reduce the risk of further bunion development.

Night Splint

If the pain from your bunions worsens at night, your foot doctor may prescribe night splints. Before sleeping, you strap on the plastic devices to keep your big toe straight and reduce pressure on the second digit. This change can help relieve pain from bunions.

Pain Relievers

You can also take over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and Ibuprofen to relieve inflammation and reduce pain caused by bunions. The drugs may be taken orally or applied topically.

To complement pain relievers, try applying ice packs to your bunions. After a long day of being on your feet, applying ice can numb the area and provide instant pain relief.

Corticosteroid Injections

A corticosteroid injection is one of the more advanced bunion surgery alternatives available. You can use this if you’re not responsive to oral and topical medications. Corticosteroids are drugs that resemble cortisol, a hormone produced by your adrenal glands.

During this procedure, your doctor injects the drug directly into the affected area. The injections work quickly to reduce pain and improve function.

However, frequent steroid injections are not advisable as they can weaken the musculoskeletal structures surrounding the injection site.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy uses non-drug methods such as exercise, massage, and physical training to heal musculoskeletal injuries. It is often not a standalone treatment. You can use it in conjunction with other treatment modalities, such as orthotics and pain medication.

Your foot doctor will recommend specific foot exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles around the bunion and improve foot alignment. Physical therapy is one of the most practical bunion surgery alternatives. We recommend coming in for physical therapy after bunion surgery, too.

Bunion Surgery Alternatives In Cincinnati, OH

Bunions develop slowly over time, mainly as a result of poor foot care. Left untreated, bunions can increase the risk of foot complications, like bone spurs, bursitis, and hammertoes.

If you want to explore bunion surgery alternatives or want to learn how to prevent bunions, visit the experts at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care. Our team of podiatrists can diagnose and treat a wide range of foot and ankle-related issues, such as bunions. If you need foot surgery, you can rest easy in our care.

To schedule an appointment, choose from any of our 18 locations across southwest Ohio or fill out our online appointment form. We look forward to helping you move through life with ease!