How To Prevent Bunions From Getting Worse And How To Cure Them Naturally
This article will show you how to prevent bunions from getting worse. The methods include bunion exercises, use of a bunion corrector, taping the foot for bunions and proper footwear.
Bunions can be awfully unsightly and painful. I had one for over 8 years.
The problem with bunions is that they only get worse with time and early identification is key to quick recovery. But if you’ve had a bunion for a long time, there is hope to cure your bunion without surgery.
First Of All – What Is A Bunion?
A bunion (or Hallux Abductovalgus) is a deformity in the base joint of the big toe. This is caused by the dislocation of the first metatarsal bone by the big toe due to several interesting factors.
Bunions come in different sizes and not all of them are not painful. But all of them do have some kind of irritation or the other.
The joint where the bunion develops can contain a small sac. When the bunion forms the sac gets inflamed leading to pain and discomfort in the foot.
Also, bunions cause the foot to rub on shoes, which cause inflammation and pain on the surface of the skin.
But the bigger issue is that of the bones rubbing against each other. This is what causes the pain.
As we will further discuss, bunion reversal can be done naturally via simple exercises and proper alignment. While an operation to correct the deformity is an option, it is rarely the only solution to recovery.
The 4 Stages Of Bunion Development
There are usually 4 stages of bunion deformity.
Stage 1 bunion deformity is when you start to notice a bump on the base of the big toe. This is where the big toe meets the first metatarsal bone.
Stage 2 of the deformity is when the big toe starts to lean over into the second toe. You will notice the bump as well as the toe angling in towards the other toes. The base of the toe could start to get bruised while wearing shoes.
FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS IMAGE ON YOUR WEBSITE USING THE LINK BELOW
Stage 3 occurs when there is no separation between the big toe and the second toe. The severity of this stage differs vastly. As the big toe pushes into the other toes, pain can occur between the first and second toes. If this gets worse, the other toes start to get misaligned as well. The bulge at the base of the first toe tends to get bigger. Irritation causes the formation of a small sac in this location that can bruise easily. You will often see calluses on the bulge during this stage of the deformity.
Stage 4 is when the bunion then moves under the second toe, consequently destroying alignment of the entire foot.
The Hereditary Bunion Myth
You’ve probably heard people saying (doctors included) that bunions are hereditary. Doctors would go so far as to say that bunions run in your family and your only solution is to have an operation.
The only research you require to bust this myth, is to pull out your baby pictures. You will notice, that your feet at birth were widest at the toes and not at the balls of your feet.
This is a huge clue as to why bunions do not run in the family -You and I were not born with them!
So How Did You Develop A Bunion? The Culprit.
If I had only one word to sum up the main culprit for bunion formation, it would be – Footwear.
Shoes that are made for children under 1 year are shaped like a natural human foot. They’re made to be widest at the ends of the toes and not at the ball of the foot.
Unfortunately, the shoe fitting process that is employed in America is based on the Brannock Device. This device was was patented in 1925 and foot measurement hasn’t changed since.
This erroneous device measures the width at the ball of the foot and gives a letter that corresponds to that width. Measuring the foot like this guarantees that your shoe will end up being widest at the ball and narrower at the toes.
As a result, Americans are being fitted with shoes that are narrow at the toes and widest at the ball of the feet. This cramping of the toes pushes them together, breaking natural alignment.
In his article – Fashion and Foot Deformation, which came out in Podiatry Management Magazine, Dr. Rossi made a compelling argument on how different cultures contort the body for beauty.
The article shows about how these bodily contortions have nothing to do with health, but a lot to do with the psychological need to fit into our culture.
We do the exact same thing here in America. We wear shoes that are are not fitted properly only so we can “fit in”.
Long term use of narrow or pointed shoes and high heels are some of the biggest contributors to foot deformities.
Most of the footwear that we wear pushes your toe into a ‘bunion angle’, and the foot learns this position over time. This makes the toe muscle on top of the toe short, while elongation the muscle under the toe.
And this is why you should be purchasing shoes that are widest at the ends of your toes and not at the balls of your feet.
Exercises To Prevent Bunions From Getting Worse
Below are the top 5 proven exercises to help prevent bunions. It should be noted that if you have bunions, you are more likely to have a compromised foot position due to weakening of the arch.
My article on flat feet showcases the best exercises to strengthen the arch of the foot. You could add them to your bunion exercise routine for best results.
If you are like me and don’t have the patience or discipline to perform these exercises religiously everyday, the get yourself a pair of flexible toe separators.
They are inexpensive and will keep your toes in natural alignment throughout the day.
Toe separators like the ones from YOGABODY are inexpensive and keep the toes aligned inside the shoe.
FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS INFOGRAPHIC ON YOUR SITE USING THE LINK BELOW
Ankle Rotation (Foot Warm Up)
This exercise is crucial for optimal results with the rest of this bunion exercise routine. This is because the muscles of the foot get warmed up and filled with blood which in turn helps increase flexibility.
In order to perform this exercise, simply rotate your foot at the ankle starting either clockwise or counter clockwise.
Make sure to perform the exercise slowly as the aim of the exercise is to properly warm-up the muscles of the foot.
Perform the movement in the opposite direction as well, completing 12 repetitions in each direction. Make sure to complete 2 sets of 12 repetitions in each direction on each foot.
Bunion Stretch And Soft Tissue Release
The idea of this exercise is to re-approximate the big toe into its natural alignment. The aim is to have the big toe in a position wider than the ball of the foot.
It is best to perform this exercise after warming up the muscles of the feet. This ensures that the tissue lengthens more easily as the muscles fill up with blood.
To perform this exercise, apply deep pressure between the first and second metatarsal, while simultaneously pulling out on the big toe.
When doing this you will more than likely notice a trigger point that feels slightly uncomfortable. Continue to slide the hand back and forth, providing deep but gentle pressure to the area.
Make sure not to force through the pain. This should feel like a deep relaxing massage.
Pro Tip: While performing this exercise, you will notice a slight gain in the flexibility of the toe. At this time you can start to pull the toe downward, while still holding it out.
This will enable you to get deeper massage into the muscle belly. Again make sure to let comfort guide the pace and degree of the stretch.
This exercise can and must be done frequently for best results. It is excellent for realignment and strengthening the lateral structures of the big toe.
Toe Stretch with Bunion Corrector
Bunion correctors are a great way to train the toes into proper alignment. Toe correctors work much like braces for the teeth. Only, they force the toes maintain proper alignment at all times.
Wearing the toe corrector, keep your feet on the ground while lifting your toes upwards. Hold at the top for at least 5 seconds before lowering to the ground again.
Make sure to perform at least 2 sets of 12 repetitions on each leg.
Thera-Band Bunion Pull
This bunion stretch requires a Thera-band.
Place the Thera-band around both big toes. Then proceed to stretch the toes out to an over corrected position.
Keeping both feet on the ground, hold this position for 15 seconds. Complete 12 repetitions.
Make sure not to force the toe through any pain. Gradually increase the tension on the band as and when you see improvement.
You can also place a small ball between both feet, at the point where the big toe and first metatarsal meet. You can get the Thera-Band and ball on Amazon.
How To Tape The Foot For Bunions
Using Kinesiology Tape for bunions is a great idea to hold the toe in proper position.
Before putting the tape on, make sure to dust and wipe the feet with a dry cloth. Removing any dirt and moisture from the foot will ensure the tape sticks well to the skin.
Cut two strips of the Kinesiology Tape.
The first strip should be long enough to reach your outer ankle bone from the tip of the first toe. The second strip should be long enough to go around your bunion while anchoring the ends on the top and bottom of your little toe.
Place the first strip on the outer portion of your ankle and bring it inside from behind the heel. Using no stretch in the tape, bring the tape up to half the length of the foot.
Then, applying 80 percent pressure pull the strip over the bunion, anchoring it to the tip of the big toe. Make sure the pressure does not over extend the big toe from alignment with he first metatarsal.
Pro Tip: The amount of pressure required is based on the severity of the bunion. Use your best judgement, when applying pressure to the tape.
Place the center of the second strip over the bunion. Using 80% pressure, anchor both ends of the tape over and under the base of the little toe.
This will help support the metatarsal preventing it from moving outward while holding the big toe in proper alignment.
Other Possible Causes Of Bunions
While the main contributor to this deformity are our infamous ill-fitting shoes.
I’ve admitted to being a shoe addict myself. I love the latest trends and fashion and would always be on top of my shoe game.
And as with many of you, I wore shoes that tapered towards the toes.
It is important to note that ll-fitting shoes are not the only reason for the formation of bunions. The other causes of bunions include:
- Bunions and Flat Feet – Bunions develop as a result of excessive rolling to the out side and faulty mechanism of those who have flat feet. Bunions and proper arch function go hand in hand. That is why exercises that help build the arch for flat feet will work to prevent bunions as well.
- Bunions and Arthritis – Bunions and arthritis could occur together as well. The bunion deformity can progress into arthritis due to repeated injury of the joint. Those who have rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis are prone to bunions. Elderly people tend to ignore toe pain, mistaking it for arthritis and therefore neglect their bunions. This is the reason you will see a lot of elderly people suffering from bunions and other forms of foot deformities such as hammer toes.
- Occupational Hazards and Toe Trauma – As in the case of athletes, where the toe has been exposed to extreme repetitive forces, bunions are induced by trauma to the toe. In such cases, athletes should look at shoes with wider toe boxes that don’t restrict the natural alignment of the toes. Ballet dancers , teachers and police have to spend a long hours on their feet. If the shoes don’t fit properly, the cramping of the toes could lead to bunions.
Is Surgery Necessary To Remove A Bunion?
When you consider that staggering statistic, one can only wonder, what if all my body parts had that failure rate?
When you consider that staggering statistic, one wonders, what if all my body parts had that failure rate?
If you were to go to a podiatrist for help with your bunion, you would be asked to take an X-Ray of your foot. This is so the podiatrist can determine the angulation between first metatarsal and second metatarsals (as shown in the figure below).
The podiatrist will then determine whether that angle is normal. Usually, if the angle between these two bones exceeds 10 to 12 percent, then you will more than likely be suggested surgery.
Now Bunion surgery or Bunionectomy is no light matter. It is an excruciatingly painful procedure, that takes several weeks to recover from.
Bunion surgery involves making an incision at the joint in order to shave off a portion of the bone and reset the head of the metatarsal bone. This bone is then fixed in place with pins or screws.
A lot of doctors will have their patients believe that the bunion is a growth of bone. When in actuality a bunion is merely the beginning of the dislocation of the first metatarsal bone by the big toe.
Early on in our lives, we were born with the big toe directly in line with the first metatarsal. The footwear manufactured these days slowly and painlessly begins the process of tapering our toe-box.
This tapering of the toe inevitably leads to the formation of bunions. This not only inhibits our movement and quality of life, it also inhibits proper arch function.
If you have a bunion, try standing with your big toe in alignment with your first metatarsal. You will immediately notice that it is hard to over pronate in this position, as opposed to when your toe is in its present deformed position.
This is why strengthening the arch muscles as well as muscles around the bunion is integral in reversing bunion deformity. Surgery is rarely the solution to correcting a bunion deformity.
The cause is very clear and is solely attributed to ill fitting shoes, incorrect gait or excessive strenuous activity.
Shoes For Bunions
By now it should be obvious that shoes to prevent bunions from getting worse are those with wide toe boxes that do not taper at the toes.
Make sure the shoes have adequate wiggle room for your feet.
If you have a bunion, you foot is wider than its original shape. You can check out our shoe sizing infographic for wide feet to get the right measurement.
Why Are Women More Prone To Bunions?
Unfortunately, women are the biggest victims of fashion. In a race to follow the latest trends, they end up buying the wrong footwear – heels, ballerinas and tight toed shoes. This alters their gait which finally leads to bunions.
How Do I know If I Am a Victim Of Bunions Or Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Bunions develop on the side of the big toe. The big toes slants towards the other toes, gradually pressing on the second toe for support. The skin on and around the bunion becomes red and inflamed and could develop into a callus. Rheumatoid Arthritis on the other hand will be hurt deep inside the toe joint.
Bunions can be a hindrance to normal functioning in your everyday life.
Simple changes to your foot wear choices and regular exercise can help reverse these effects.
Learning how to prevent bunions from getting worse can save you from the pain of going through bunion surgery.