In Japanese acupuncture, both of these conditions are referred to as "sugar toes." The theory behind their appearance is that excess sugar consumption, caused by the failure of the spleen to transform and transport the sugar, results in damp. The damp leads to the formation of phlegm, which congeals such that an actual bony deformation appears. Note that the bunion is bordered on either side of the first metatarsal bone by acupuncture points. Distally, SP 2 (da du) is involved; proximally, SP 3 (tai bai) is involved. Spleen 2 is the fire point and the tonification point of the spleen, and as such is used to treat spleen deficiency. As its earth point and horary point, Spleen 3 balances and strengthens the spleen; stabilizes insulin production; and benefits diabetic disharmonies. Sugar can be viewed energetically as both hot and damp; hence, we are not surprised to see the occurrence of corresponding hot and damp pathology at these points, such as the congealed phlegm. Typically, patients report discomforting tenderness of the toes. There may be slight swelling of the joint, and shoes may aggravate the condition. As the problem becomes more chronic, pain tends to worsen, and limited joint motion may ensue.
Acupuncture is used for bunions, and also bone spurs on the heel). It disperses blood, fluid and qi stagnation and thereby stops pain.
Its objective is to invigorate stagnation locally and activate the function of the spleen to transform and transport, thereby dispersing the bunion.