According to University of Michigan Health, bunions (also known as hallux valgus) and big toe pain is misalignment of the first metatarsal in relation to the big toe. We offer traveling acupuncture treatments in the comfort of your own home. We service the areas of Denver and Aurora, Colorado.
Big toe pain according to TCM
According to TCM, big toe pain is caused by a pattern of qi and blood stagnation. This means that the energy is stuck in the big toe, preventing oxygen rich blood from flowing smoothly through the joint. The treatment principle would be to move qi and blood in the joint in addition to treating underlying imbalances.
What TCM therapies can be used to treat bunions?
TCM therapies for the treatment of bunion big toe pain include acupuncture, electrical stimulation, tuina massage, topical liniments and foot soaks. Acupuncture helps to invigorate blood flow to the area. It also harnesses the body’s ability to heal by setting an inflammatory process into action and activating the body’s natural pain killers.
Electrical stimulation can help to add constant stimulation to acupuncture needles and increase blood flow to the big tow and other areas of pain. Acupuncturists use percutaneous (below the skin surface) machines like the E-stim II that are applied to needles during treatment. Patients can TENS (transcutaneous) units like the Medvice TENS unit and apply the patches to the superficial areas of the big toe.
Bunions can be helped enormously by massage and foot soaks. At Healing Acupuncture Clinic, I offer 15 minute add-on foot massages and foot soaks to each treatment.
I always incorporate topical liniments such as Zheng gu shui or Dr. Bob’s Medicated Oil in my health acupuncture appointments. Zheng gu shui is a very hot liniment that is very useful for bone injury (bruise or fracture), and also for strain and sprain. It can also be used for plantar fasciitis by spraying on paper towels and placing in shoes. Dr. Bob’s medicated oil is designed to disperse inflammation, stop pain and itching. These two liniments are great at releasing muscle tension and easing pain. And they smell wonderful, too!
Western therapies to treat bunions
Western therapies include surgical and non-surgical treatment. Non-surgical treatment includes:
- Chiropractic adjustment Talk to your chiropractor about your big toe needs, evaluate any structural abnormalities and ask for an adjustment. Usually these adjustments utilize an Activator II device for gentle adjustment.
- Physical therapy exercises (writing out the ABCs with the toes, Flexing/extending the toes). Check out the “Stretches for foot pain” article from FootWearNews.com.
- Strengthening of the calf muscles can really help to support the structures of the foot and ankle and help invigorate blood flow to the lower extremity.
- Shoe modifications – wearing comfortable shoes with a wider and taller toe box
- A shoe stretcher or ball and ring stretcher – allows modification to current shoes to prevent irritation
- A toe spacer and/or bunion sleeve– can be used to treat symptoms; however, they will not affect the size of the bunion or prevent progression of the disability
Small changes make a big difference
Lifestyle changes can be implemented at home to address big toe pain. I have worked with a number of clients with toe pain and we have come up with a couple of additional solutions:
- While driving, ensure that the ball of the foot, rather than the toes, are making contact with the gas pedal. Relax the muscles and tendons of the toes by resting the heel on the car floor and bringing the driver seat closer to the wheel.
- Wear thick soled shoes, such as Altas or Danskos, especially when experiencing pain.
- Be sure to swap out old shoes for new ones. Shoes only have so many miles in them so be sure to treat your feet and get a new pair of shoes every 6 months or so. I like to have 3 pairs of shoes on rotation every week.
Book an acupuncture treatment to treat bunion pain
We specialize in treating big toe pain at Healing Acupuncture Clinic. We offer traveling acupuncture appointments performed in the comfort of your own home. We service Denver and Aurora, Colorado. Book your next service with Stephanie and harness your body’s ability to heal. Please text 720-515-8501 for availability.