Stretching for Bunion
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- Chronicity 18+ Months
- 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.
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 !
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.
- Chronicity 18+ Months
I have a bunion on my right foot. It started to swell, and over the years got increasingly painful if I wore heels. Then, coincidentally, I started practicing yoga, and to my surprise one of the benefits was that it eased my bunion. In yoga, we do a lot of stretching of our feet, which seems to have helped (not mention the overall body realignment that probably played a role as well). The bunion is reduced in size (though not gone) and it no longer caused me pain, even if I walk in heels. I don't know that yoga is the answer for everyone, but it might be worth a try before going the surgery route.
I have very small bunions, thanks to heredity and the types of shoes I wear in the office (or on a night out)... But I do toe stretches every morning and night, and I manually pull the big toes outward from the foot. I swear by this method, because I've actually lessened the size of my bunions and eased the pain significantly.
I recently started having problems with a bunion on my left foot. I've found wearing toe socks around the house feels nice and helps stretch my feet. I generally stick practice barefoot and try to focus on activating my feet. I also like this article:
There are many things you can do to improve a bunion without surgery. I've had really good luck just using toe stretchers. My hammer toes and slight bunion have improved drastically. Just shove your little piggies into this medieval torture device (yeah, it hurts a little) and 5 minutes later your foot is much straighter.
I have always worn "sensible" shoes, but have hyper mobility in my feet, and ended up with painful bunions by my twenties. I saw a doctor who suggested surgery to actually pin my bones together after shaving off the bony knob. This was in my early to mid thirties. Didn't take his advice, but by nature of grace took up yoga. After a couple of years of practicing ashtanga/vinyasa several times a week and a year of mindfully training my feet to face forward when I walk, I am pain free, my feet are not spreading out so wide and my bunion is Reversing! These practices take time, but they do work. I didn't have any crisscrossing of tendons, but my feet were quite wide and my bunions quite pronounced.
I definitely notice an improvement in my feet strength when I do yoga....it's so great for my feet muscles. I also wear Bunion Bootie when I'm not in yoga and I feel it also helps to gently work the muscles controlling the big toe. Now when I don't wear the Bunion Bootie I can very easily keep my big toe in a straighter position. It's tragic how much less attention feet get than the rest of the body. Massage and diet are also a essential element to reducing inflammation and swelling.