A bunion is the enlargement of the big toe joint. Under repetitive pressure, this joint can move out of place, swell, and turn inward, causing a stiff, painful bony protrusion on the side of the foot.
Overpronators are especially prone to bunions because they put excessive stress on this joint during the push-off phase of running.
Too-narrow shoes can cause bunions, and genetics play a role as well. Severe cases can bring you to a standstill, requiring surgery to repair the joint, which is why we advise the following programme at the first sign of redness or discomfort.
Taping your foot in a normal position before a run can reduce pain and stress on a bunion. Put a toe separator between your big and second toe and tape the pad to your big toe.
The two exercises below will increase bloodflow to the joint, helping it heal. Although they may not improve the way the joint looks, they will reduce stiffness and soreness, which will allow you to run comfortably.
Big-Toe Adductor: Sit with your exercising leg bent, foot flat on the ground. Keeping your heel on the surface and pivoting from your heel, raise your foot. Using your hand, gently pull your big toe out to the side–away from your other toes. Hold for a second or two. Do this 10 times and repeat on the other foot if necessary.
Toe Extensors: From the same position as the previous exercise, raise your foot and curl your toes tightly down toward the ground. Using your hand, gently push down on your toes. You can flex each toe individually or do them as a group. Hold for a second or two. Do this 10 times and repeat on the other foot if necessary.
It’s important for all runners to have properly fitting shoes, with a roomy toebox essential for those who overpronate.
When you run, avoid going up on your toes, which puts pressure on the big toe. Focus instead on planting your midfoot down with every step.