My husband and I love going hiking. There’s nothing like the feeling of the outdoors. The rush of ascending a challenging incline. Flowers, wildlife, and amazing views become our movement back drop. What could possibly spoil all this awesomeness?
We had just finished a hike outside of Julian. When my husband complained about his feet, I said what could I do to help. I had just finished my Yoga Tune Up® Level 1 teacher training and thought maybe we could do something with the therapy balls on the feet. A few minutes later, relief was insight!
Up until this point, my husband only saw surgery as his only option for relief. He may still go the surgical route because of the rubbing of the shoe on the bunion. But now he has some alternative tools to use to mitigate his pain.
Here are a few of his favorite foot exercises for bunions that have been game changers for living with bunions:
Ball on the Ball
Place a single (original) Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball on the ball of the foot (not on the toes). Flex the toes around the ball, wait three breaths, and extend the toes. You can also try isolating and lifting each toe one at a time starting with the big toe.
Bunions crowd the other toes. This upgrades the space between the toes and challenges the extensors of the toes (like extensor hallucis longus and extensor digitorum longus).
Feet in Line
Come to standing. Notice your feet. Are they turned out at an angle or pointing straight ahead? Point them straight ahead, look straight ahead, and notice how it feels from hip to toe (propriocept).
My husband uses proprioception to notice when he’s running or walking that his feet have started to turn out. It’s made a difference in his foot to hip pain.
Bunion and hips? Strong hips will help stabilize the feet and create a better sense of balance.
One range of motion (ROM) exercise that has been helpful is Hip Lowers. Stand with one foot on a block or book (also can be done on floor to modify) and one foot off. First, see if you can keep the pelvis level. Then, use the “blocked” hip to lower the pelvis as far as you can go. Come back to level. Repeat.
When my husband did this in a recent class, he fatigued quickly. This was such a great assessment movement that let him know where he needed to work on his hip strength to create more pain free walking and running.
I wish I had a magic wand to get rid of my husband’s bunion. Having the bunion exercises and tools to cope may be the second best thing!