People can generally have different problems with their feet. Runners are even more likely to get different problems like callus, blisters, or black toenails. But these are just cosmetic issues that can be easily treated. Bunions, on the other hand, are just as unsightly as they are uncomfortable. So here is some information about bunions, what are the causes, how they can be treated and different bunion exercises that you can do to help either prevent or improve the condition.
What Are Bunions?
A bunion represents an enlargement of the joint of the big toe. This usually causes the big toe to bend towards the other toes, crowding them, and the base toe bone moves outwards, making it not just uncomfortable, but also painful.
What Causes Bunions?
Bunions are most commonly met in women, and have several different causes, such as:
- - Poor fitting footwear – this is the most common cause of bunions
- - Rheumatoid or osteoarthritis
- - Family history of bunions
- - Neuromuscular or genetic diseases, that can result in muscular imbalances, like Down’s syndrome
- - Excessive pronation, abnormal foot function – rolling your foot inwards can lead to bunions
- - Unequal legs – the longer leg is usually more likely to develop a bunion
- - Feet trauma or injury can sometimes lead to causing the bunion occurrence
- - Week feet ligaments
- - Bone deformities
- - Poor foot mechanics
- - Flat feet
How can bunions be treated?
Most bunions can be treated without extreme measures such as surgery. Here are some of the possible treatments:
- - Wide fitting shoes, avoid high heels, if shoes are the bunion’s main cause
- - Bunion exercises
- - Ice to reduce the swelling and pain, while also elevating the foot using a stool
- - Bunion shield over it to reduce the pain
- - Bunion night splints – can help reducing the bunion’s size and straighten it while sleeping
- - Stretches included in your daily routine for feet and toes – it will increase circulation and help bone realignment
- - Bunion surgery may be required in some cases, but only if there is no other option
A bunion is a biomechanical deformity; therefore bunion exercises won’t get rid of them, but can help increasing flexibility and relieving bunion symptoms.
The benefits of doing foot exercises can help by slowing the progression of the bunion. Toe stretches and foot exercises can keep the joint between the foot and big toe mobile, strengthening the muscle controlling your big toe and maintaining flexibility.
So here are some bunion exercises you can do to help with the flexibility, reducing pain and symptoms:Toe flexing and contracting – press toes against a wall or a hard surface to stretch and flex them; hold it for 10 seconds, and repeat 3-4 times; then flex them in the opposite direction, and again, hold for 10 seconds and repeat the exercise.Toe stretches – by stretching your toes you can offset foot pain and keep them limber. Point the toes ahead and then curl them under, maintaining each position for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times. These bunion exercises are also very beneficial if you have chronically bent toes or hammer toes, besides the bunion.Stretching the big toe – use your fingers to pull the big toe into proper alignment, holding it for 10 seconds and repeat several times.Ball roll – sit down, put a golf ball under your foot on the floor, and roll it around for 2 minutes; this will massage your foot’s bottom, relieving cramping and foot strain.Resistance exercises – wrap a belt or towel around the big toe, and pull it towards you while pushing your toe forward.Traction exercises – grasp the foot and toe and try to pull off the toe, holding it for 10-15 seconds; repeat several times; this will help keeping the joint mobile.Picking up marbles – this is another gripping exercise meant to keep your foot flexible; place several marbles on the floor and use your foot to pick them up and place them in a bowl one by one.Towel curls – spread a towel on the floor, curl your toes around it and pull it toward you. This will strengthen your toes and keep them flexible. Repeat 5 times.Elastic band – loop and elastic band around both big toes; spread the feet to straighten the toe, and hold the position for several minutes; repeat a couple of times.Walk along the beach – walk on sand whenever possible; this will give a gentle massage to your feet and strengthen your toes. It is great for people who also have arthritis.
It is recommended to do bunion exercises daily, both in the morning and evening. These bunion exercises will not heal the bunion, but they will definitely help you reduce the pain, relieve the symptoms and keep your toes and feet flexible and mobile, while also increasing their strength.