Bunions: Causes and how to fix them
Both painful and unsightly, bunions are essentially a problem of developed footwear. Sustained compression of your toes over years and years forces the big toe to deviate towards the middle of the foot, changing the tone of the muscles that control toe alignment and misshaping the joint. But what causes bunions, and how do you fix them?
Fixing them won’t happen overnight – it takes years for them to form, so it takes time to undo that process – but the alignment of your toe CAN slowly be straightened. If you’re someone who wears compressive shoes, changing your regular footwear to allow your toes to spread as they’re made to naturally is the best thing you can do for yourself.
For those who have to wear compressive footwear for certain activities like rock climbing, skiing, ballet etc, incorporating some foot pre-hab into your training regime is definitely recommended to balance the regular high level stress they’re subjected to.
These exercises, mobilisations, and massage will reactivate underused toe muscles, release and stretch shortened ones, and restore mobility to the deviated and compressed toe joints.
While you now know about bunions, causes, and how to fix them yourself, professional assessment and treatment can be a major help in starting the recovery process for bunions and identifying all contributing factors, including some that can be coming from outside of the foot itself e.g. hip and leg length influences, calf muscle tightness or weakness, lifestyle habits. If yours are giving you trouble, I recommend seeking help from a practitioner as the start to your own care.