You don’t have to tell us bunions can be uncomfortable and difficult to deal with. We’re runners, bikers, skiers, and the like and we know bunions can become even more of a hassle if you are an athlete. With months of training in a variety of footwear and weather condition and competitions you cannot or don’t want to miss, dealing with a bunion can often present a challenge.
“Bunion” in the name given to the deformity of the big toe which causes it to push outward and can be extremely painful. Bunions typically continue to worsen overtime and surgery can eventually become the only way to permanently correct the deformity. However as with any surgery, it comes with a myriad of risks and often significant recovery time, something athletes aren’t one to give into easily.
Until an athlete has the time to take off to have and recover from surgery, here are some options in dealing with your bunion:
- Proper shoes can make a world of difference for an athlete dealing with bunions! A properly designed shoe can help to alleviate pressure on the side of the foot which causes the majority of the pain for bunion sufferers as the boney nub rubs against the shoe during each and every stride. If you are dealing with bunions, look for a sneaker with a tall toe box that is squared at the toes instead of rounded. Shoes should also provide plenty of cushioning in the forefoot. Shoes with rearfoot stability are beneficial in reducing overpronation, which can intensify the symptoms of a bunion. Also a shoe with a specifically designed bunion window can provide a little more leg room for your running companion. Check with Nike and Adidas, at one point both carried models fit for bunions.
- Treat your bunion conservatively. Physical therapy, injections and anti-inflammatory medications can help make the symptoms of your bunion less noticeable as you participate in athletics. A few ibuprofen before the race or training session can sometimes do the trick.
- Engage in cross training. If you experience a lot of pain with your bunions, alternate high-impact activities with low-impact training activities. Instead of running for conditioning, opt to swim, use an elliptical machine or ride a stationary bike to help stay in shape. Low-impact exercises will place little to no stress on your lower extremities and give them a much needed break from their normal sport.
- When not running you can try inserts that push the big toe back in alignment such as toe spacers but for those that prefer a painless and more gentle remedy that can be worn while active, try Bunion Bootie. For most fans of the Bunion Bootie, it is just as much a part of their workout gear as socks and shoes!
As an athlete with bunions, the key is to listen to your feet. They’ll let you know when it is time to take a break from running, jumping, sprinting, flipping or whatever it is that your sport requires. In the long run, your feet and your career will thank you!
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