Our blog about bunions developing in teens pointed out that we often wait to correct them surgically until full growth is reached. In the meantime, we may try other treatments like taping, custom orthotics, or night splints to keep the deformity from getting worse. If your teen’s bunion is painful, these may help to stop the progression and alleviate the discomfort. However, even more helpful may be some simple things you can do to temporarily relieve bunion pain at home:
- If it is rubbing against the shoe and the skin is irritated, try moleskin or gel bunion pads that you can purchase over the counter. They protect the skin from irritation, although they won’t do much to help aching in the joint itself.
- Go shopping to find your teen a roomier pair of shoes that won’t press in against the toe and speed up the development of the bunion.
- If we prescribe custom orthotics, make sure your teen wears them as much as possible once they are “broken in.” They hold the foot in a better position, but when they are removed, the bones revert to their original angles.
- Stretches and massage won’t realign the toe joint—only surgery can do that—but they may help keep it more flexible and relieve pain. Your teen should get in the habit of doing basic stretches and spreading the toes apart whenever shoes are off, to keep the joint mobile.
- Encourage good weight control. Extra pounds put extra pressure on your teen’s feet and multiply the effects of poor biomechanics.
- Warm foot soaks may ease the ache, and ice packs (covered with a thin cloth to protect the skin) applied for 15 – 20 minutes can numb the pain for a while, too.
- Ask us about the best pain reliever for your teen (we often recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—NSAIDs) and the correct dosage for their situation. These can help your son or daughter over peak periods of pain—say after physical activity.
These tips for treating bunions help many of our younger—and older—patients. Eventually, the bunion will probably need surgery, although some adults have non-painful deformities that never need correction. Each situation is different, so give Sierra Foot & Ankle a call at (775) 783-8037 and let us evaluate your teen’s foot. We are located in Gardnerville, NV and can be reached toll free at (888) 608-8406 as well as online to set up your appointment.