Are you one of the 23% of people between 18 and 65, or 36% of those older than 65 who suffer from bunions? If so, you know the enormity of the pain.
If you're dealing with bunions, it may hurt to walk, let alone stretch your big toe.
Yet, stretches are one important way you can relieve some of that built-up pressure and begin to feel relief.
While some significant bunions may require surgery, the good news is that for the most part, they can be managed from the comfort of your own home.
Today, we're going over a few bunion exercises that don't take long but can offer serious comfort.
Ready to learn more? Let's go!
What Causes Bunions?
Bunions form at the bottom of your big toe when its tissue or bone becomes displaced. Over time, it causes a bump to form against the joint and turns the toe slightly inward.
There are myriad of reasons someone might get a bunion.
You might inherit them from your parents or grandparents. You might wear ill-fitting shoes for too long, have a previous foot injury, or suffer from arthritic ailments.
As a result, pressure forms on the joint. That means not only is it difficult to wear normal footwear, it's also incredibly uncomfortable to walk once you do get your shoes on.
1. Toe Stretches
Toe stretches are simple bunion exercises that can be done in seconds for immediate relief.
Rather than stretching your toes upward and backwards, as some tend to do, try pointing them forward instead. Hold this position for five seconds, then curl your toes inward for the same amount of time.
Repeat this simple stretch ten times to loosen your toe joint and jumpstart the healing process.
Suffering from a hammertoe as well? These stretches pull double duty for both!
2. Toe Flexes
The opposite of stretching a muscle is contracting it.
Another one of our bunion exercises is to flex and contract your toe muscles to stimulate muscle repair and joint loosening.
To perform this routine, sit with your legs extended and pressed up against a hard surface, such as a wall.
Press your toes against the wall to contract them, keeping them there for around 10 seconds. Repeat this movement five times.
Then, flex your toes and stay in that position for 10 seconds, repeating five times.
3. Isolated Big Toe Pulls
While the above exercises are done with your entire foot, there are also bunion exercises that isolate your big toe to offer targeted relief.
While a bunion will cause your big toe to become misaligned, a quick workout is to hold that toe and carefully ease it back into position.
At first, you may not be able to hold this motion for very long, if at all. Try to work your way up to 10 seconds for the ideal stretch.
4. Toe Circles
To really loosen your big toe joint, hold your big toe securely and move it around in a circle.
Begin with a small circumference, then gradually work your way up to as large of a movement as possible.
Trace the circle in a clockwise direction for around 15 seconds then switch and repeat for 15 more seconds going counter-clockwise.
While this is one of the most effective bunion exercises, keep in mind that if you suffer from painful arthritis, it's best to skip this one, as it could exacerbate symptoms.
5. Bunion Exercises with Props
Looking for a little more advanced exercise? Try grabbing an exercise band or hand towel and finding a comfortable spot in a chair or on the floor.
Then, wrap the band around your big toe and gently pull it toward you.
At the same time, resist against the band with your toe, pressing it back down toward the floor.
As you do this, you're building muscle strength, which is a key step in improving your joint function.
6. Beginner Toe Grips
If you used a towel for the above exercise, don't put it in the hamper just yet!
Spread that same towel on the floor and use your toes to bring it up to your hands.
While you do this, you're growing the strength in your toes and helping your big toe bend and function more smoothly.
A towel works great for this exercise as its material is often grippy enough to fit comfortably within your toes, helping you execute the movement with ease.
7. Advanced Toe Grips
Was picking up the towel super easy and now you're looking for a bigger challenge?
Try adding to the complexity just a little by switching the towel out for small balls such as marbles or miniature bouncy balls.
Spread a few handfuls (around 20 should do it) of the balls on the floor and slowly pick each one up with your toes.
The repetition will help keep your toes stretched and flexible while also building your joint dexterity.
8. Foot Massage
Even bunion exercises can be enjoyable and relaxing sometimes!
To aid stressed muscles and unbind a stiff toe joint, a foot massage can't be beaten.
If you have one available, roll a tennis ball under your affected foot and slowly roll it around your arch. Doing so for a couple of minutes each day can also help prevent foot cramping.
Don't have a ball nearby? Try walking on a massaging surface, such as sand, to stimulate the bottom of your feet and alleviate mounting pressure.
Need More Bunion Care? Check Us Out!
While exercises can offer relief, the reality is that living with bunions is no quick fix. If you're looking for a daily solution to help ease your symptoms, we're happy to report that one exists.
Our Bunion Sleeve® gently repositions your big toe to its natural position, relieving your symptoms and helping you reclaim your balance.
Lightweight and ultra-thin, it fits perfectly in your favourite shoes without creating any extra bulk, freeing you up to enjoy your favourite activities in comfort.
Check out all of our collections today and find the one that fits your needs. Then, let's take that first, pain-free step together!