Avoid bunion surgery

The objective of this article is to avoid bunion surgery. Managing the painful bunion without surgery is the most ideal way forward to help local skin irritation discomfort and so in this article, I have prepared some tips to protect the skin overlying the painful bump. You will hopefully find the ideal footwear to stop that local irritation, but the pad (adhesive dressing) will keep you more comfortable. Make your own first-aid dressing and upload my 6-minute film before you read this sheet.

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Special dressings

Podiatric dressings involve semi-compressed felt which you can use to avoid with bunion pain to avoid surgery. You will need to know how to make the dressing which you can keep on for up to 2 days. If you retain the adhesive in place for longer there can be a small risk with skin damage. Never reapply a dressing of this type, especially if it becomes wet, back on the skin. Felt is perfect as it moulds well around the foot and beds down providing comfort within shoes. The pad won’t slip and will stay where you place it. You must, however, ensure you have the right location first. First aid padded dressings are available from pharmacists or the internet. It is best to shape your own from a square of felt using sharp scissors. 


What the dressing pad does not do

The pad will not correct the bunion. It will buy you time and make you more comfortable until the skin settles. Always seek professional help in the case of infection or skin changes that persist and are painful. 

You are advised to take with shoe selection if the shoe is the cause of rubbing. Avoid shoes with seams and stitches overlying the side of the great toe or top of the toe. Do not apply to chilblains.

Look out for further information about first aid for chilblains later on this year. 




Condition: Great toe pain over the enlarged or distorted joint called hallux valgus also useful for a bunion (bump) on top of the toe joint
Name of pad: Oval or egg-shaped pad with a special cut out or cavity which does not go through the felt so that it leaves a small amount of material overlying the skin.
The objective of treatment: To prevent pressure from the shoe against the skin where there is a lump. This will help the skin to heal if it is damaged. The pad can be used on the side of the big toe or on top of the big toe joint.
Limitations of treatment: Can not be used on acute gout, where there is severe swelling. DO NOT use in cases of poor circulation or where there is an infection or weak skin
Material: Felt 4 – 7mm hypoallergenic backing adhesive, scissors (sharp/blunt 6″), card for a template (optional) see the film. 
Location: Make sure the cavity is the right size and bevel the edges at approximately 45 degrees. See the diagrams below

Other resources available for bunions

You can read more about bunions and hallux valgus on consultingfootpain.co.uk.Hallux valgus Or you can read my new book on Bunion, Behind the Scene

Available from Amazon. A foot pain series.

 April 2019 and updated July 2020Thanks for reading ‘Avoid Bunion Surgery’ written by David Tollafield for ConsultingFootPain as part of Busypencilcase Reflective Communications.