Can exercises help bunions?
Posted: Dec 27, 2020
Bunions are a common problem of the foot and can be painful. They are an enlargement of the big toe joint and are usually associated with a deviation of the big toe towards the smaller toes. They are more common in females and are more common in those who wear tighter fitting footwear. Not everyone who wears tight footwear develops them as there is also a hereditary component to them. Bunions can be painful for several reasons, the most common being pressure on the enlarged joint from the shoes. They can also develop pain deep inside the joint from an arthritis type process. The only way to get rid of bunions is with surgery. There are many different surgical procedures that can be done for bunions and which one is done will vary from case to case depending on which specific structures are involved in the bunion. If that is not a viable option then there is plenty that can be done to help with the symptoms, such as wearing better fitting footwear or the use of pads to keep pressure from the footwear off the enlarged joint. There are also several different splints that can help. Sometimes foot orthotics under the foot can help the big toe joint work more efficiently.
This question gets asked a lot and the answer is that they probably will not result in getting rid of the enlarged bone nor straighten the deviated big toe. That does not mean that bunion exercises are not helpful, it just means that they are not going to make the bunion go away. What the exercises do is that they help keep the joint mobile and flexible as well as strengthen the surrounding muscles. This will be important in probably preventing the problem from getting any worse and very helpful with any symptoms that may be causing pain that are originating from inside the joint. This means that there are some very good reasons to do the exercises.
The types of bunion exercises that can be done are yoga type stretches of the joint where you move to joint to its end range of motion and hold it there for 20-30 seconds, very gently pushing the limits of how far you can move the joint. It probably should be done in all directions. There are devices and bands that can be use that wrap abound the left and right big toe and you move the feet away from each other to further stretch the toe in the direction of correcting the toes position. Keep in mind that this type of exercise will not correct the bunion but does keep it flexible in that direction. Other exercises such as the short foot exercise can help strengthen the muscles of the arch of the foot and that can help the big toe joint function better. All movement of the joint is good and sometimes it might not matter just what exercise you do, as long as you get and keep the joint moving that is most helpful.
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.