Bunions are a very common ailment in adults. Most people who have bunions either don’t realize they’re forming until it’s too late, or don’t know how to prevent the bunion from getting worse if they notice it early on. Here are a few exercises that can help your feet stay pain free and prevent the bunions from progressing too quickly.
- Big Toe Stretch – Using your fingers (you can bend your knees if you can’t reach), pull your big toe gently, straight back and hold for 10 seconds. Then push straight forward in the correct alignment and hold for 10 seconds. Slowly repeat until you have completed 3 sets. You can do this as many times as you like during the day.
- Arch Stretch – Use a small, hard ball (like a golf ball) and roll it under your foot while you’re seated on the floor. The extra leverage will help stretch your feet and prevent or ease foot cramps. It can also improve the flexibility of your feet so that your joints have more room to move comfortably.
- Toe Flexes – Stand facing a wall and place your hands shoulder width apart. Do a vertical push up position with one foot partially up against the wall so that you can push just your toes into the wall. Push your toes gently into the wall for 10 slow seconds. Switch feet and repeat. Usually we do this exercise to stretch our calves, but it is just as important to stretch your toes especially if you notice that bunions are already forming on your feet.
- Walk on Sand – Walking on a surface that is not concrete can help build up weak muscles on your feet. Your feet also get the bonus of a nice massage as you walk. If you don’t have any beaches or sand near you, you can use wet towels and walk in place over a folded towel placed in your bathtub.
- Pen Transfers – Place a pen or two on the floor perpendicular to the direction you are sitting in (so you can lift the pen with your foot.) Using your dominant foot, pick up the pen and transfer it to your other foot. Once you have transferred, put the pen down and take a brief rest. Then using your non-dominant foot, pick up the pen again and transfer it to your other foot. Repeat 3 times or until your feet are too tired to continue. This can help to strength and make your toes more flexible which is key when you have bunions.
Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm of Clifton Foot & Ankle Center has been treating patients with bunions and other foot & ankle ailments for over eighteen years. If you have any questions, call us at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.