How to Treat and Prevent Bunions
If your shoes have enough space to accommodate them, you can cushion the bunion or protect it from friction with a gel or moleskin pad.
Special foot exercises prevent bunions. Strengthening the toe and foot muscles relieve pain and discomfort and stave off stiffness. Try using your toes to spell out the alphabet or to pick up marbles one by one and place them in a bowl. Even just stretching out your toes (point them straight ahead for 5 seconds, then curl them under for another 5 seconds) or manually pulling your big toe into alignment for 10 seconds can help offset bunion pain.
Here are some helpful exercises. Repeat the exercises a few times throughout the day.
- Toe Stretch
Sit in a chair, right leg crossed over left thigh. Interlace left fingers with right toes (as if holding hands with your foot). Squeeze fingers and toes together and hold for 10 seconds, then stretch wide for 10 seconds. Do 3 times with each foot.
- Arch Massager
Stand with the ball directly under the second toe of right foot. Slowly roll the ball around the sole of the foot for 1 to 3 minutes; repeat with left foot.
- Heel Reliever
Sit with right leg extended, left foot against the right inner thigh.
Bend forward and hook right thumb around the pinky toe and left thumb around big toe (it's OK to bend the knee), fingers wrapped around sole.
Pull back with hands to flex foot and gently press thumbs away from each other to separate toes. Hold and massage the bottom of the foot with fingers for 30 seconds. Do twice with each foot.