Do you have a bunion that is painful, interferes with the type shoes you can wear, and/or leaves you feeling self-conscious? What if you could treat it with some simple exercises that, when performed consistently, could help correct it? Interested? If so, READ ON!
First of all, what is a bunion and what causes them? A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. It forms when your big toe pushes against your next toe, forcing the joint of your big toe to get bigger and stick out. The skin over the bunion might be red and sore. Wearing high heeled shoes or tight, narrow shoes can cause bunions or make them worse. Bunions can also develop as a result of an inherited structural defect, stress on your foot, or a medical condition, such as arthritis.
Fortunately, surgery may not be the only option! In addition to proper footwear (See blog post 2/23/17, "Put Your Best Shoe Forward"), the following exercises, performed consistently, have been reported to help correct a bunion. Give them a try, and be sure to take pictures weekly so that you can see how your efforts are paying off!
Ankle Circles: both directions, 30 sec each direction (this increases circulation, which brings oxygen and nutrients to the area)
Arch Raises: Keeping the toes on the floor, raise and lower the arch 1-2 sets, 15-20 reps
Toe Separator and Toe Raises: Using a toe separator (can be found anywhere where toenail polish is sold), lift toes and hold up. 2 sets, 10 reps, 5 sec hold
Isometric Toe Curls: Contract toes (like grabbing a towel and bringing toward you) and hold. (Be careful not to pull too tightly or foot might cramp.) 2 sets, 5 reps, 5 sec hold
Ankle Supination: Lift foot and rotate toward toward midline (like kicking a ball with the side of foot). Be sure to keep knee straight. 2 sets, 15-20 reps
Rubber Band Pull: Place any kind of band around big toes. Pull feet apart. Hold 30 sec for 1 min, OR pull out and in 20-30 reps
Rubber Band Extend/Flex: Place any kind of band around big toes. Pull feet apart. Extend and flex the toes. 20-30 reps
Toe Circles: Using your fingers, rotate the toes in each direction 3-4 sets, 20-30 reps
Figure 8 Rotations: Using your fingers, move the toe in a figure 8 pattern both ways 3-4 sets, 20-30 reps
Heel Raises: Hold 3 sec, 10xs/day (This can be done in the shower, when brushing teeth, etc.)