Bunions are irritating, embarrassing and most often painful. A bunion is caused by an enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe due to the toe moving out of place. The enlargement creates friction and rubs against footwear making it painful to walk.
Fortunately, stretching exercises can help prevent bunions or slow down the joint enlargement. Podiatrist Harvey Danciger recommends these foot exercises to incorporate into your stretching routine:
- Toe Adductor. Bunions can become larger and more painful when your big toe moves out of place. To prevent this from occurring, it’s important to strengthen the muscles that control your side-to-side toe movement, otherwise called your toe adductor muscles. To exercise this, sit with your leg bent and your foot flat on the ground. Raise your foot while keeping your heel on the ground and using your hand. You should gently pull your big toe away from your other toes. Do this 10 times holding the position for a few seconds at a time.
- Rubber Band Pulls. This exercise stretches the foot muscles that keep your toes in place, which will help prevent bunions from occurring in the first place. To start, place a thick rubber band around both of your big toes. Stretch the rubber band by pulling your big toes away from each other without moving your feet. Next, place the rubber band around all of your toes making sure the band holds resistance. Then spread your toes apart using the band resistance in order to strengthen your toe muscles. Complete both exercises in five or six repetitions throughout the day.
- Toe Extensor. Use the toe extensor exercise to prevent bunions or slow down the joint enlargement process. Begin by sitting with your leg bent and your foot flat on the ground. Keep your heel on the ground, raise your foot and curl your toes toward the ground. Then using your hand, gently push down on your toes. Hold for a few seconds and repeat 10 times.
If you’re suffering from bunion pain or irritation, contact our office to set up an appointment with Dr. Danciger to determine a treatment option right for you. Let us help you achieve healthy and pain-free feet!