How Infrared Light Therapy Can Target and Treat Bunion Pain
Bunions are bony lumps that form on the outside of the big toe, and about one in three Americans have them. Most bunion pain is caused by inflammation in the fluid-filled sac that usually forms when bunions appear, and it can be debilitating.
Common Bunion Treatments
Bunions form when metatarsal bones in the foot begin to bend, and they become permanent when the bones become deformed. There is no drug that can prevent this from happening, so over-the-counter products, lifestyle modifications and physical therapy are typically recommended for foot bunion treatment. Here are some of the most common treatments for bunions:
- Orthotic inserts: These custom shoe inserts relieve pressure on bunions and can stop them from getting worse.
- Bunion pads: Pads can prevent pain caused by bunions rubbing against shoes or toes rubbing against each other.
- Splints and braces: These devices can provide temporary relief, but the affected toe will return to its deformed state and symptoms will return when they are removed.
- Physical therapy: Massaging the affected toe can improve mobility and prevent stiffness, but the effects are temporary.
- Painkillers: Over-the-counter remedies used to treat bunion pain include pills, creams and sprays.
- Injections: Steroids, cortisone and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are often recommended for bunion pain treatment. These treatments can be injected to reduce bunion pain and inflammation, but some of them can harm soft skin tissue.
- Surgery: When bunions impede mobility or patients face higher risks because of diabetes or other conditions, surgery is usually the only option. Once the bunion has been cut and scraped away, the toe is repositioned and fixed in place with metal screws or staples.
Red Light Therapy: A Popular Non-Surgical Treatment
Red light therapy, also known as photobiomodulation and LED Therapy, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002. Since then, it has become a popular non-surgical treatment for bunions because it is effective, painless and safe. This natural bunion treatment draws oxygen, water and nutrients to the inflamed cells around a bunion, which reduces swelling, prevents muscle spasms and eases stiffness and pain. It also activates stem cells to speed up tissue repair and destroys the fungus that can make the pain worse.
Improved Joint Health
The toe propels the body forward when we walk and supports posture and balance, which is why bunions can make even minor movements, or even simply shifting weight from one foot to the other is extremely painful. Red light therapy improves joint health to ease this pain, and it works very quickly. When researchers used RLT to treat the knees of patients with degenerative osteoarthritis, they noticed significant improvements in just 10 days. The treatment also reduced pain levels by up to 50%.
Tissues become inflamed when the immune system releases chemicals to fight against infections, toxins and injuries. These chemicals help to keep the body healthy, but they can cause a host of problems when they accumulate and linger.
A study conducted in 2006 reveals that photobiomodulation can be an effective treatment for inflammation. When 14 individuals suffering from Achilles tendinitis were given the treatment, both inflammation and pain levels fell noticeably after each session. The same decrease in pain and inflammation levels seen with photobiomodulation also provides relief from arthritis pain.
Bone Repair and Growth
Other studies have found that red light therapy can stimulate bone growth and repair as well as accelerate healing and alleviate pain. When Brazilian researchers gave rats red light therapy to treat bone defects, they noticed increased amounts of both newly formed bone and granulation tissue.
Improved Cellular Metabolism
Mitochondria produce energy and power our cells, and regular exposure to red and near-infrared light gives them a considerable boost. This increased energy production helps cells to function correctly and regulates their reproduction, and this improved cellular efficiency is what makes red light therapy so effective at treating many bunion symptoms.
Red Light Therapy for Injuries
A study conducted on athletes who presented with various sports injuries, such as sprains, strains, tendonitis and ligament damage, found that RLT gave them an average return to play timeline of 9.6 days vs. the mean expected timeline of 19.23 days. The study indicates that RLT speeds up recovery from exercise or injury.
As a result of that study and others that are similar, red light therapy has gained a great deal of traction as a recovery aid for athletes. Red light therapy expert Micheal Hamblin expanded on the studies saying, “red light therapy may help you recover from exercise, sleep better, heal wounds and injuries like tendonitis, reduce arthritis.”
LED Therapy for Muscle Pain
Researchers believe that the excess energy released during LED therapy allows cells to gain an enhanced ability to rapidly regenerate and repair themselves, thereby bringing healing action to muscle tissues. And the faster the cells can do this, the more rapidly injuries can heal and alleviate pain.
At-Home Red Light Therapy That’s Affordable and Safe
If you have bunions or any other condition that makes getting around painful, red light therapy could help to make your life a little easier. You don’t have to go to a doctor to get this therapy, either, as you can order red light-delivering devices online.
For instance, you can deliver home treatment for bunions from the comfort and privacy of your home by ordering and using our FDA-approved red light therapy device. The device can be used daily to treat foot pain and inflammation, and you should start to notice improvements after just a few sessions. We offer a satisfaction guarantee, and the LED lights we use are durable enough to provide years of reliable service.