My exercise routine has been sporadic since the past holidays. I have to get back into the swing since I've put on a few pounds.
But instead of my usual exercises, I've become obsessed with correcting my bunions.
Bunions develop for quite simple reasons that are so easy to correct but there isn't enough information out there to help people to prevent them from forming.
They develop mainly from footwear. The tapered toe look of our shoes are what gets the bunion problem started. Our shoes are pushing our toes too tightly together which pushes them out of alignment. What exacerbates the problem is that we wear footwear (sneakers mainly) that not only have a tapered toe but have a built in lift at the toe. What this does is train people to walk incorrectly.
Incorrect gait means the majority of our weight and walking force is directed to our big toe. After many years of this maladaptive walking habit, many of us will notice a reddened, bulge appearing at the base of the big toe. That is a bunion. Once you have it, it never goes away but there are orthotics and exercises for it to relieve pain, discomfort and correct its hideous look just a bit.
So I did some searching online and I found this site, which was a godsend in my opinion.
Correct toes is an orthotic developed by a podiatrist to help the patients he was treating for bunions and other foot problems. This orthotic is a brace made of flexible, medical grade silicone that fits around the toes. It essentially holds your toes in proper alignment. There are insertion areas at each end of the orthotic in which you can insert rubber or cardboard to widen the spacer if your bunion is severe.
The instructions advise to wear correct toes for an hour each day then progressively longer until you can wear them all day. There are links on the website to shoes that can accommodate the correct toes orthotic.
I will say the orthotic is on the expensive side. It costs about $65 dollars which is a lot more than the devices you get in your local pharmacy. However don't hesitate if you really need this device, it is worth every penny.
I've used Correct Toes now for almost a month and it has made noticeable improvements to my feet. My toes now appear straighter (as I've said before the bunion will never go away but it can be improved). They are comfortable and almost immediately relieved the soreness due to the bunions. Another improvement you will notice is how the orthotic begins to correct not only your toe alignment but your gait as well. The device will stop you from putting all your weight on your big toe. Ideally you should wear the device at home all the time, preferably bare foot or with toe socks. Due to gait corrections, you may notice a bit of stretch in your arches. Some people will also notice stretching in their outer thighs as well.
Once you've worn Correct Toes for awhile, really start to notice how it influences you to walk. If you can't buy shoes to fit the device right away, try to mimic the corrections in your regular shoes. For most people this will mean walking with toes pointed straight forward. Because our shoes are tapered, it forces the weight toward the big toe. This also turns into a sort of splay footed, duck walk for most people in varying degrees. Be sure to always be aware of your toes pointing straight ahead. At first it will feel as though you are walking pigeon toed, but that is not the case. As you walk, place the weight of your body toward the outer toes not the big toe. When you get it right, you will feel it. You will feel your weight being supported by all five toes, you will feel your arches start to work and give you support. Also make sure that your knees are fully relaxed, even slightly bent. Do not brace your knees, that will put some of your walking force onto your knees and that will mean pain. Personally I'm still trying to break my old walking habits, it will take awhile.
Youtube has great videos regarding exercises and stretches to help minimize bunions. Below are a few examples.
Bunions can be helped without invasive surgery. It is just a matter of being diligent in changing bad body alignment habits.
Labels: exercise, health, videos, youtube