A: Unfortunately, surgery is the only way to remove a bunion (a bony bump around the joint at the base of the big toe), and there are drawbacks: Recovery can take up to six months, and the bunion may return. So you might consider a more conservative approach first. For pain and swelling, try anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) or an ice pack two to three times a day. Orthotic shoe inserts can help prevent bunions from getting worse by controlling abnormal foot movement as you walk; you can buy them at a drugstore, or your podiatrist can prescribe custom-fitted ones.
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