Most symptoms of bunions involve pressure from the shoe against the bunion region. This often leads to direct pain over the bunion, swelling, redness and/or blistering. Because narrow shoes push your big toe in, wearing wide shoes can relieve the pressure on your foot.
Supporting your arch will transfer force away from the bunion area. While a high quality pre-made orthotic can help, it will not be as effective as a custom orthotic.
The same concept applies as above. Avoid narrow footwear and support your arch as much as possible. Narrow house slippers can push the big toe inward, causing further friction in the bunion area. Arch support can also reduce pressure on the bunion.
Socks made from cotton are not a good option because they cause a higher amount of friction. Also avoid socks with seams across the toes. These can cause friction and pain to the bunion area. Look for seamless socks. These can be made with a combination of wool and spandex. Compression socks also help avoid friction.
Bunion pads can help by redistributing pressure away from the affected joint. Make sure to test the pads for a short time period first to ensure they’re reducing pressure, rather than constricting toes even more and making the bunion bump even worse.