Everyday Tips for Managing Bunion Pain
Bunion pain may feel like an insurmountable foe at times, constantly getting in the way of your footwear choices, your time out, and your activities. Is there really anything you can do to battle a condition that literally shifts the structure of your toe?
Well, yes. Options absolutely exist!
In some cases, the painful or uncomfortable complications of a bunion may need to be addressed through reconstructive surgery. You might be well aware of this potential choice, but it is not the only one that may exist for your situation.
Many times, the pain of a bunion can be managed effectively via more conservative means, providing a significant improvement in mobility and quality of life. A number of these things you may be able to try at home, but we do recommend we give you a full evaluation and allow us to make recommendations that are best suited to your individual needs.
If you have any questions about what types of bunion pain management tips may be best for you, please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment. We might recommend some of the following:
Exercises and Stretching
You can’t work your bunion back into a normal position. However, you can work to strengthen the connective tissues that support your joint, build flexibility, and maintain the mobility you have.
Many toe exercises can be rather easily performed within the home, either while sitting, lying down, or standing with your hand on a supporting wall or counter. Here are a few common routines:
- Toe Circles. While sitting, lean over and grasp your big toe. Circle the toe clockwise 20 times, stop, then reverse direction for another 20 revolutions. Perform two or three sets for each toe.
- Figure 8s. This is a good follow-up to the Toe Circles exercise. As you might expect, you will be performing figure eight motions instead of circles. Perform 10 rotations at a time for each toe, with two or three sets per toe.
- Marble Pickup. This exercise requires a bowl and 10-20 marbles, and it’s fun if you like “Minute to Win It”-style challenges. Sit with the marbles on the floor just in front of you, and the bowl nearby. Use your toes to pick up each marble and deposit it in the bowl, making sure your toe is gripping around the marble (shoving the marble between your toes, for example, is not going to do you any good).
Many different stretches and exercises can have beneficial effects, but not all of them may be best for you personally. If a routine is causing you pain, stop it immediately.
Additionally, forms of massage can also provide some healthy limited relief. Rolling a tennis ball or bottle along your foot while seated can be a great-feeling form of massage, and one you can even perform at work.
Changing Your Footwear
Footwear choices can certainly become more difficult if a bunion has changed the shape of your foot. Nonetheless, we still see people in shoes that are making their condition progressively worse.
Wearing high heels or other types of shoes that force excess pressure toward the front of the foot will likely place undue strain on an already weakened joint. This not only contributes to pain, but can make the joint shift even farther over time.
A bunion is not a situation where “all the damage has already been done.” It can keep moving throughout your lifetime, and wearing poor footwear is essentially pushing it along that path.
A good shoe for accommodating a bunion will have a wide, flexible sole and enough room in the toe box to comfortably fit the bunion. Shoes with toe boxes that are too small or narrow will often lead to friction against the bunion, which can result in calluses or corns. You will also want a snug and sturdy heel counter to help keep the heel in place and prevent your foot from sliding toward the front of the shoe.
Most athletic footwear, as well as shoes made of soft leather, tend to be good choices for their flexibility, but never buy a pair you don’t feel comfortable in.
Adding Protection and Support
You can buy the best footwear but still run into problems, though. In these situations, some extra support can be a big help.
Bunion pads, often made of moleskin and/or filled with gel, are available at many dispensaries and drugstores. They can provide a comfortable cushion against friction, but make sure your footwear has enough room to accommodate them.
If an abnormality in foot structure is causing excessive strain against your big toe joint, we may also recommend custom orthotic inserts to help redistribute weight more evenly across the foot. Given how force against your feet is created with every step you take, the benefits of such devices can be highly substantial!
Other items that may provide helpful relief throughout the day include night splints, which we might recommend and guide you in using. These will hold the toe straight at night, helping to combat further progression and provide further relief.
Find Lasting Help for Bunion Pain
Remember that you don’t need to try to handle your bunion pain on your own. In fact, the sooner you begin addressing it with the best methods, the better the overall effect tends to be on your feet. You can help prevent the condition from becoming a lot worse and keep yourself moving more and longer.
Schedule an appointment at either of our offices in North Miami Beach or Miami Shores by calling (305) 514-0404. You can also reach us via our online contact form.