Massage for Bunion

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4.2out of 5
Worsened(1)
Improved(2)
Almost cured(11)
Cured(7)
  • SCDC Bunion

    • Age 35-54
    • Male
    • 225 lbs
    • 6' 1"
    • Taylors, sc
    15
    May2018
    • Injury Status In Pain
    • Physical activity per week 8+ hours
    • Chronicity 6-18 Months
    • Repeat injury? No

    Treatment Ratings

      Improved
      Orthotics, Bunion pad/bootie, Toe Separator, Bunion Splint, Rest, Ice, Footwear Modification,
      Not Improved
      Cortisone Injection, Bunion socks, Proper Running Form, Supportive Shoes,
      Worsened
      Taping

    Daily life is unaffected. Walking becomes very painful on the bunionettes by mile 3 and bunions by mile 5.


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  • blah88 Bunion

    • Age n/a
    01
    Feb2016
    • Chronicity 18+ Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Almost Cured
      Massage, Supportive Shoes, Toe Separator, Proper Running Form
      Not Improved
      Orthotics

    This is a topic I unfortunately have a wealth of experience with. I suffered a basketball injury to my right foot ~10 years ago that left me with a bunion and hallux rigidus (stiff big toe). I've accepted that it will never heal, but I've learned how to manage it so that it has virtually no impact on me running 80 miles/week.

    First things first - I would advise against the Nike Frees. I tried the 3.0 three years ago, and while they felt great (light and fast), they were a major factor in me developing a significant foot injury (capsulitis) that left me unable to walk without pain for a year. I thought that I'd never run again. Because of the Free's last, I inadvertently began overusing the outside of my right foot, resulting in my big toe (with the bunion) not doing its share of the work. The first sign, which I promptly ignored, was peroneal tendonitis along the outside of the right calf. I foam-rolled / "sticked" it away and continued running high mileage. Then the ball of my right foot swelled up and running became impossible.

    I saw several orthopedic surgeons, a couple physical therapists, bought two expensive pairs of orthotics, and finally relearned how to use my big toe after a trying year.

    I've learned that I need to do the following to keep my foot fully functional:

    *Always be aware of my gait when walking and running. Proprioception is a funny thing in that you can sometimes lose it without knowing. I now periodically "check in" with my foot to make sure I feel the big toe pushing off and taking on about 2/5 of the load.

    *Stick with lightweight stability shoes. I like New Balance because the toe box is typically fairly wide. The 90x series was great for me and I use the 1190 now. The Saucony Mirage is another one I've had success with. You may require a different shoe, but I'd recommend sticking with some support, although you don't have to go over 10 ounces.

    *Interestingly, I now depend on the Correct Toes by Dr. Ray McClanahan. I tried a couple of the cheap spacers before, but the fact I can slap some socks and shoes on top of these make them well worth the expensive price. I wear them all day and night except for when I'm running or doing some other moderate physical activity.

    *I have to spend about 5 minutes pre-run and preferably 20 either post-run or in the evening massaging my foot and finger-spacing my toes. My left hand spaces and my right thumb goes in between and massages the knots/bubbles out of the ball of my foot near the big toe area. I also wiggle the big toe around a bit while it makes all kinds of arthritic cracking noises to try to keep the range of motion that I have left.

    That's about all I can think of at the moment.


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  • eskimo2013 Bunion

    • Age n/a
    • Female
    05
    Jun2013
    • Chronicity 18+ Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Almost Cured
      Massage, Taping, Supportive Shoes, Stretching, Other

    Tips:

    • tape the underneath part of the bunion (the bit where the sole of the foot meets it) - not to change mechanics but to add a second skin. I even used duck tape once when I couldn't get hold of anything else and it got me through a half marathon in good time!
    • walk around barefoot whenever possible
    • practice squats etc - make sure you're flexible, do whatever you can to ensure correct alignment in all other parts of the body - glute strength etc
    • I saw a barefoot running coach and ended up in minimalist shoes after he completely changed my technique. This has helped my running generally, but I am with the people who say that the shoe is only as good as the technique.
    • soak feet in white spirit to harden skin (it honestly works but only if you do it regularly - and it really hurts when you have blisters so have a glass of whiskey to hand!)
    • stretch your feet
    • roll a golf ball around the sole of your foot
    • practice picking up marbles with your toes
    • always paint your toenails if you're a woman - it makes them look a little bit nicer at least - cheers me up anyway
    • keep your ankles as strong as possible
      By the way, I've had this problem since I was about 9. Got teased about it in the school changing rooms, was very upsetting at the time. Definitely a hereditary condition as I was never allowed "bad" footwear as a child.

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  • TriTrev Bunion

    • Age n/a
    08
    Nov2012

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Surgery
      Almost Cured
      Massage, Stretching, Toe Separator, Bunion Splint

    I had a Podiatrist perform reconstructive surgery on my right foot which was causing daily pain/made it impossible to run anything more than 20mins, in Dec 2004, my left foot was to follow later.....its almost 8 years later, and I haven't bothered....and have little intention until I "have to" get it fixed

    Honestly unless you are in daily pain, or the bunion is affecting training do not go the way of surgery. Foot massage, big toe stretches, arch exercises, wearing of night splints, toe spacers etc have all worked in some way to keep the left foot from affecting my life/training.....I will only undergo surgery on the left foot to reduce the width of the bunion if it became a problem with shoe fit or daily pain.

    After surgery it took almost 6 months before I could start to jog pain free for short periods, and a full year before I was running properly, and entering 5/10ks, 18 months before a marathon... so consider your timeframe before surgery.

    I'm glad I did deal with a Sports Podiatrist, it made it easier to discuss expectations etc, thah with a regular non sports surgeon, and he is on board with me not having the other foot "fixed", with the understanding that you just cannot leave it to its own devices, I still see him every 6 months etc, to monitor both feet.....it helps to have a good insurance plan !


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  • notquitemaryann Bunion

    • Age n/a
    • Female
    06
    Apr2012

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Massage, Supportive Shoes, Stretching, Other, Toe Separator

    At one point several years ago, my toes were so pissed off that I limped everywhere and began overpronating/walking on my heels in order to avoid putting any pressure on the joints. What helped:

    • ibuprofen, yes
    • changing to wider shoes with low or no heels, except for extremely rare occasions
    • wearing toe separators every night, and as often as possible during the day, to stretch the joint at the base of the big toe (a rolled-up trouser sock or similarly sized cloth object is a good substitute when you're in need)
    • manual stretching and massage of the toe joints as well as the swelling itself. In my case, the pointy protrusion that I was initially certain was a bone deformity was a swollen bursal sac, which seemed to soften and become more mobile after progressive massage (progressive mostly because the burning inflammation means that at first it hurts like a mother just to touch the area, but this did get much better).
      I have no pain or noticeable pointiness now, but the whole episode taught me to be much kinder to my feet, and I take the time to stretch and massage them now.

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  • Bunion Bunion

    • Age n/a
    • Female
    20
    Dec2007

    Treatment Ratings

      Almost Cured
      Massage, Supportive Shoes, Other, Toe Separator

    Go to a good foot doctorfor a diagnosis. You will most likely need to wear some sort of orthotic and be mindful of the shoes you wear. I cut out wearing any sort of heels long ago, and mine are doing O.K. Wearing good shoes (all shoes, not just running), soaking them from time to time in warm water and vinegar (yes, vinegar - stinks, but works), massages and wearing toe separators between your second and big toes certainly help. Recommended shoes are those with large toe boxes. For running, look for those with only mesh where the big toe joint lies in the shoe. Any sort of leather or emblem in that area can really irritate the joint. I wear Asics b/c they always seem to have toe boxes large enough to accomodate my big toe joint.

    Most likely mine will require surgery to correct, but I have put that off, as I have been able to run with them fine so far. I've always heard from those who have had bunion surgery that your foot is never the same. One of my doctors told me that the patient will tell the doctor when they need the surgery, and that's when the patient just can't manage the pain.


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  • Anonymous Bunion

    • Age 55+
    • Female
    • 5' 5"
    18
    Mar2018
    • Injury Status Recovering
    • Physical activity per week 8+ hours
    • Chronicity 18+ Months
    • Repeat injury? No

    Treatment Ratings

      Improved
      Footwear Modification, Toe Separator,
      Not Improved
      Taping, Bunion pad/bootie

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  • secretary Bunion

    • Age n/a
    • Female
    01
    Feb2016

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Massage

    I had a bunion that became very inflamed and painful. My chiropractor massaged the fluid and/or tissue back into the place it came from, and the inflammation and pain were gone and the foot looked a whole lot better.


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  • Anita Bunion

    • Age n/a
    • Female
    03
    Sep2014

    Treatment Ratings

      Cured
      Massage, Stretching, Toe Separator

    I've never worn heels or narrow-toed shoes but in my late 50s found myself with a bunion and incipient hammertoe on one foot. Did research that suggested you can avoid surgery if you catch the problem before tendons/ligaments contract irrevocably. I started with an inexpensive pair of toe spacers from the drugstore -- little gel thingies to insert between the big and second toes, which immediately straightened the hammertoe. Moved on to another inexpensive set of toe spacers you insert all your toes through. These have helped stretch the tendons, ligaments, and fascia of my other foot, which tends to cramp during Pilates. I've learned that immobilizing feet inside shoes is not a good thing. There are all kinds of stretches and exercises, even vigorous massage, that will keep your feet strong and flexible, and as you tighten with age you have to work harder at this -- as indeed you must work harder to maintain your body as a whole.


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  • Eyes Bunion

    • Age n/a
    02
    Sep2014

    Treatment Ratings

      Almost Cured
      Orthotics, Massage

    I was told about 14 years ago that I should have surgery. I was given the alternative of orthotics made to my feet. I wore them for a while, still do sometimes, and cut out the heels over 1.5 inches. I massage the bunioon ruthlessly, pulling and pushing the toe around. It is not much bigger than it was then. Knock wood.


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  • Rosali Bunion

    • Age n/a
    04
    Sep2013
    • Chronicity 6-18 Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Almost Cured
      Massage, Stretching, Vaseline/Lubricant

    I had a half inch bunion and in the last year my big toe was starting to turn in and lay over the toe next to it. The bunion was growing, the skin getting red and inflamed, the odd blister after walking a lot, and all my shoes really hurt my foot at that spot. After reading growyouthful�s page on bunions I decided to give oil massages a go. Sometimes I used olive oil, and most often castor oil. Twice a day I put a few drops in my hand and gently rubbed all around the big toe, bunion and down that side of my foot. I did this for at least 10 minutes while I read or watched TV. Before, I I drank a glass of water like you suggested. After a week I was thrilled with the improvement. At this time I also started all the bunion exercises recommended on this site � the stretching and the shaking. It has been a month now and the improvement is amazing. I take time to massage around the base of the big toe, and it is definitely straightening. It does take a lot of time and discipline to do this, but wow the improvement is worth it.


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  • Sian Bunion

    • Age n/a
    30
    Jul2013
    • Chronicity 18+ Months

    Treatment Ratings

      Almost Cured
      Massage, Supportive Shoes

    I have had a moderate bunion for three years on my right foot and the beginnings of one on my left.

    I have been vigorously massaging my feet daily for 15 minutes for a few months and it has had an effect of reducing the inflammation in the toe joint. They are still red when I take my shoes off at the end of the day but they have definitely have improved and are not nearly quite as painful as before. I am going to stick with my foot massage and try adding Tagetes oil to my plain massage oil which is recommended for foot problems and there has been a lot of positive things said about this oil in recent years. I wear looser shoes now with a wider toe box - the tight, pointy shoes have all gone on Ebay. Also, one could try Pilates foot exercises to strengthen the feet.

    I couldn't go as far to say