Many issues can cause foot pain, and bunions are one of the more common causes. More common as we age and much more common among women, bunions form at the joint located at the base of the big toe, causing a painful lump that can make it hard to find shoes that fit well.
When diagnosed early, a bunion can often be treated with splinting and exercises aimed at moving the big toe joint back into alignment. When treatment is delayed and the joint “stiffens” in its new position, the typical treatment involves surgery to restore the joint’s normal position.
Bunions don’t always cause significant pain, especially during regular, day-to-day activities. But even small bunions can be very painful during exercise and sports activities.
At AllCare Foot & Ankle Center in Dallas and Arlington, Texas, Michael V. Tran, DPM, helps patients manage their bunion symptoms with medical treatment and lifestyle tips aimed at helping patients maintain their activities without pain. In this post, learn how to reduce or prevent bunion pain during the activities you love.
Choose the right shoes
Before you even begin exercising, you need to make sure the shoes you’re wearing provide plenty of room for your toes. Look for shoes with good arch support and plenty of padding, too. Avoid any shoes that are tight or restrictive around your toes.
Dr. Tran frequently prescribes orthotics, custom-made inserts that help relieve stress on your bunions. Orthotics distribute your weight evenly across your foot while helping to keep your toes and the rest of your foot properly aligned.
Try a corn pad
Bunions cause a lot of rubbing on the skin at and near the base of your big toe. Wearing a callus or corn pad helps prevent friction while keeping your skin soft and comfortable.
Try some gentle stretching
Massaging and gently moving your toe joint helps keep the joint supple and mobile, preventing stiffness that can worsen the pain and keep the toe from moving back into alignment. Dr. Tran often recommends physical therapy for patients with bunions to help them learn special stretches that support healthy toe joints.
Stick to low-impact activities
Cycling and swimming are great exercises that don’t put much pressure on your feet. Try the elliptical machine or stationary bike at the gym instead of the treadmill.
Pay attention to pain
If your bunions hurt during exercise, it’s time to stop, switch to another activity, or ask Dr. Tran for tips on how to avoid pain. He can help you learn ways to modify your technique so you can enjoy the activity without exacerbating your bunion symptoms.
Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Bunions typically involve inflammation around the big toe joint. NSAIDs like ibuprofen help relieve inflammation to help you manage your symptoms more effectively.
Apply some ice
If your bunions hurt following exercise, try applying some ice to the joint. Ice also helps decrease inflammation and reduces painful symptoms.
Get medical help early
Scheduling an evaluation at the first sign of a bunion or any type of foot pain is important for getting quick relief and preventing the problem from worsening. If you have a bunion or think you might be developing one, Dr. Tran can initiate treatment that can help restore your toe area and prevent painful symptoms.
To schedule your evaluation, call 817-276-4600 or request an appointment online with Dr. Tran and the AllCare Foot & Ankle Center team today.