Today’s blog about strengthening your feet will be specifically targeted to those with the intention of managing and reducing the foot deformity phenomenon known as bunions.
What are bunions?
A bunion, known in the podiatry world as Hallux Abducto Valgus, is a toe deformity which develops on the inside of someone’s foot, forming a bony bump at the base of the big toe. This developing bump occurs within the joint and in most cases progresses slowly and gradually deviates the big toe towards the lesser toes of one’s foot.
Bunions can be painful and concerning for some people, making everyday tasks or even wearing footwear difficult and challenging.
So how can we prevent or reduce this common deformity you ask? With a little thing called strength!
Strengthening your feet through simple foot exercises can improve foot posture muscles to correct biomechanics causing the deformity.
The specific muscle we are looking to strengthen is the Abductor Hallucis Muscle. Located on the inner arch of the foot, this muscle is responsible for the abduction and flexion of the big toe, therefore when weak it can be a major driver for the development of a bunion.
The following exercises are great for strengthening some of the muscles with the role of keeping the big toe in its natural position and as a result can assist in slowing down the progression of a bunion.
Big Toe Pull
- Sit comfortably in a chair with both feet flat on the floor, making sure your heels are maintaining contact with the ground
- Place your finger between your big toe and second toe, with a grip on the big toe
- Gently pull your big toe ‘straight’ towards the direction of your other foot
- Hold for up to 10 seconds
- Take a break before commencing on the other foot
- Sit comfortably in a chair with both feet in contact with the floor.
- Lay a small towel in front of you and place one foot on the towel
- With your foot placed on the towel scrunch your toes so you pull the towel toward you.
- Repeat 3-5 times for one foot, before taking a rest and performing on the other foot
- Sit comfortably in a chair with both feet flat on the floor
- Try bend your toes towards the arch of your foot, imagine your creating a dome or a bridge
- Hold this dome position for five seconds, then relax
- Repeat 10 times.
- Sit comfortably in a chair with both feet in contact with the ground
- Spread your toes as far as you can – without straining, this should be comfortable
- Hold this for five seconds
- Repeat 2 or 3 more times – whatever feels comfortable for the patient
Strengthen Your Feet Today!
Always remember to start slower and work your way up and only do exercises that feel comfortable. Feel free to pick and choose your favourites and most importantly the ones that make your feet happy!
Strengthening our feet using exercises can always be a handy tool when trying to deal with bunions, but there is always more we can do! If you are struggling with or simply have any questions or queries about bunions and how they are treated feel free to book an appointment with a friendly podiatrist at AC Podiatry for an assessment! We are always happy to help with the fight against the big toe bump!