A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe that can be caused by anything from foot stress, tight shoes of any type, emotions in particular anger and even certain foods. Typically, they are the result of years of pressure that pushes the big toe towards the other toes. The main symptoms are bone deformity, pain, and stiffness.
In Japanese acupuncture, bunions are referred to as sugar toes. Funny enough, this correlates exactly to the viewpoint of bunions in TICM. The theory is that a combination of excess sugar consumption usually results in a failure of the Spleen to transform the sugar, resulting in dampness. This dampness produces phlegm which congeals such that an actual bony deformation appears.
Sugar is energetically both hot and damp, which mirrors the symptoms of bunions. The occurrence of corresponding hot (painful, red, and inflamed) and damp (toe enlargement or fluid accumulation) pathology at these points, such as the congealed phlegm.
If this was not enough of a connection, bunions themselves appear on the actual Spleen and Liver meridian. Spleen 2 (SP2) treats the failure of the Spleen to transform and transport the sugar, or dampness. Spleen 3 (SP3) balances and strengthens the Spleen, stabilises insulin production and benefits diabetic disharmonies.
On an emotional level, bunions are related to suppressed emotions, specifically suppressed anger, frustration and anxiety, particularly relating to doing too much for others at your own expense. These are all related to Liver. I currently have a patient who has years of anger that the bunion is now giving them pain. Due to the anger, this has caused stagnation leading to a cyst which developed few years back. With the growth of the cyst, pain is becoming more frequent.
Remember, I always say, sickness does not appear overnight. It takes time and our body is always signalling that something is going on deep internally, but we ignore things allowing it to build up until something serious happens. Internal disharmony always exposes itself externally. Many people have knee pain due to gut issues, but they nor their medical doctors make the connection! How the condition took to develop over months or years, those who use traditional medicine must be patient with us too and not expect a miracle in one session. Generally those who want to get better are the patient ones and actually listen so they do heal quickly.
Acupuncture greatly helps bunions. It draws Blood to the area as well as energy to dispel stagnation. See previous posts on damp how to eliminate damp as well doing the exercise below, incorporating foot soaks too. Place elastic band around your big toes, slowly turn your feet outward until you feel the stretch on the big toes. Hold that position for 1 minute, then relax for 1 minute and repeat. Please do this 15 minutes daily. Then enjoy a cup of ginger powder tea.