It’s no secret, bunions can be super painful. While over-the-counter pain drugs may do the trick, it will only be a matter of time before the pain slips back in. You could argue that surgery would be a better option, and you would be right to some extent too. Surgery can alleviate bunion pain, but doctors don’t simply suggest the surgical procedure at your request. In most cases, they usually need to analyze your condition before making a conclusive judgement on whether surgery is the best solution for you. In that case, you’ll be left with exercises to relieve bunion pain without surgery.
Background Information on Bunions
Bunions can be a nuisance especially if you developed the condition due to hereditary factors. The swelling up of your great toe and having it pushed up against the next toe is what people refer to as a bunion. It does leave you with a slightly weird foot shape which might not be painful at first but can easily develop into a painful condition if you aren’t keen. Of course, not all angled toes are signs of bunions, but if they come with pain and inflammation of the skin around these toes, then you’re surely dealing with a bunion. As they are physical conditions that develop gradually, exercises could be a great way of dealing with the pain that bunions come along with.
Exercises to Relieve Bunion Pain
1. Foot Massage Using A Ball
If you have a small ball (the size of a tennis ball or a golf ball), place it on the floor and gently roll your foot around it for at least five minutes daily. Doing so does more than just alleviating the pain from the bunions. It also strengthens the plantar fascia which reduces the chances of you developing Plantar Fasciitis. You should also strive to occasionally get the ball closer to your toes, and particularly the big toes as this movement forces it to arch and release tension from the tendons.
2. Take A Walk Barefooted on The Beach
Ditching your shoes occasionally and walking barefooted can equally be a great exercise if you are experiencing a lot of pain because of bunions. While walking barefooted, your feet tend to flex more in areas that would have otherwise been dormant if you had worn shoes. It is also important to do this on a sandy beach as the sand will fill in the space on your foot arch and give you a pleasant and relaxed feeling.
3. Flex Your Toes
This is great if you’re in your slippers or any kind of open shoes. While standing, stretch your toes fully by constantly flexing them up and holding them there for a few seconds before flexing them down for some seconds again. You can even go overboard and change the rhythm of your flexes. Doing so loosens any tight toe joints and strengthens the muscles in your ankles in addition to stretching the ligaments.
4. Towel Scrunch
This is more like flexing your toes, but with a physical subject to play with. The towel scrunch exercise involves wading up a small towel into a ball just by using your toes alone. It is best done when seated and can be a little bit frustrating if you are doing it for the first time, but it will greatly help soothe any bunion pains that may have started to develop. Typically, five minutes of this exercise daily will be more than sufficient.
5. Strengthening Your Toes
Grab an elastic exercise band and loop it round your toe and then attempt to pull it towards you. At the same time, you should resist the pull by pushing your big toe down for some few seconds to create tension on the toe. Repeat this exercise about 10 times and you will be building up your toe muscles faster than you thought. Having strong toe muscles will also mean that your tendons will have some sort of resistance thus preventing bunion development.
6. Toe Dexterity
Pretty much like the towel scrunch and the flex your toes exercise, the toe dexterity works by making your toe muscles stretch as far as they can. Here too, you will need a subject which can be a cup full of marbles or even tiny pieces of Lego bricks. You will then attempt to pick up either the marbles of the Lego bricks using your toes and placing them inside a container or generally just moving them to a different location.
7. Toe Spreads
Try and separate each of your individual big toes from the rest of the smaller toes and hold them there for at least a second before trying again. This will get your joints moving thus easing any pain that may have started developing. If you do have arthritis, and this gets a bit painful, you should stop and try warming up your feet by dipping them in warm water. This will give them a loosened up feel and improve blood circulation on your feet.
8. Toe Circles
You’d need both your hands to pull this one off. To do this exercise, gently mobilize your toes in a circular motion by using your fingers. The main goal is to ensure you move your toes clockwise for a few seconds before moving them in the opposite direction and repeating the procedure. Like with the toe spreads, if you feel any kind of pain, soak your feet in warm water before attempting to try again.
Most exercises designed to relieve bunion pain basically work by increasing movement of muscles and tendons in the regions thereby creating a soothing effect on the affected foot. As such, it is also easy for you to come up with your own unique exercise so long as it does not cause a lot of pain on your feet. While it is normal to feel “nice” when gently twisting your big toes, you should be careful not to go overboard especially if you have arthritis as you could be creating new problems. Just go easy on your toes.