Is Your Bunion Stopping You from Running?

15 June 2021

What is a Bunion?

A bunion, known as hallux valgus can be a painful deformity of the bones and the joint between the foot and big toe. It is an enlargement of the bone or tissue around the base of the big toe.

A bunion is a deformity of the joint connecting the big toe to the foot

What Causes a Bunion?

Under repetitive pressure, the joint between the foot and the big toe can move out of place, swell and turn inwards which results in a painful and stiff bony protrusion on the side of the foot.

People who are flat footed tend to excessively roll their feet inwards which can have an effect on the development of bunions. Too much rolling in of the feet causes overpronators to put excess stress on the metatarsal joint during the push-off phase of running.

Asians tend to have a wider forefoot. Hence, wearing shoes with a narrow toe box can cause or worsen bunions at times.

How Can The Symptoms Be Addressed

It is important to have a good fitting shoe with ample space for your toes. Besides that, the pain and stress on the bunion can be reduced by taping the foot in a normal position before a run. A toe separator can be placed between your big and second toe with a padding taped to the big toe.

Modifying your running style can also reduce the stress on your big toe. Avoid exerting increased pressure on your big toe when running by trying to put more weight on the outer part of your foot instead, especially during initial contact and in mid stance. This will decrease the pressure on the big toe during the push off phase.

The measures above mainly address the symptoms rather than correcting the actual deformity. Depending on the severity of the pain and discomfort, a surgery may be performed. It is best to seek professional help to ensure optimal solution for pain relief and recovery.

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