This past spring, I was heading out for my routine run. Running for me has always been mentally therapeutic, idea provoking and a great workout activity.
I enjoy long distances and feel more value from the endurance aspect of the sport. The challenge over the years has been my high activity level, genetics, and settling into proper footwear to suit both my skeletal needs and exercise goals.
On this particular spring day, a little on the cooler side, I was a bit worn down from the mileage I had put on thus far, and I was breaking in new shoes. Though they were comfy and incredibly well-designed, they had some design elements within that did not work so well with my slightly smaller left foot. It was in this moment of lacing up to head out for this 5-miler that I could see my left big toe turning inward toward the others, as though it was whispering some venomous lie into their ears about our upcoming run.
As I began to grow nervous, yet in my usual defiance, I Searched What a Bunion Was and how to prevent it, then went out anyway. The interesting experiences that stood out on this particular run are a whole other story. I began to dissolve my fears by remembering that there are preventative measures I can take now. Things I can incorporate into my pre-existing regimen to reduce my chances of suffering a bunion filled future.
Here are some of the stretches I have been incorporating in my Bunion Preventative routine:
With your heels firmly planted on the ground, lift your toes and spread them apart from one another. Splay your toes, hold for a moment, and repeat for 10-20 times. This is a good stretch for the front of your foot overall. I find that this exercise has been the most effective for me and during my runs, I focus on spreading out my toes with each foot strike with each and every further step into my awareness.
This mobilizes the joints in your toe and helps to reduce stiffness. While sitting on a chair, lean over and grip your big toe. Begin circling the toe clockwise, 20 times. Stop and reverse the direction for another 20 circles. Complete 2 to 3 sets on each toe.
If you have a tennis ball or something of similar size, I have a yoga ball that is great for massage, gently take the ball under your foot and roll it back and forth. This feels great on my arch and helps to alleviate some of the strain caused by the other muscles in my feet that either over or undercompensate. Roll under each foot nice and slow, focusing on the momentum for a few minutes on each one.
Find a small object that you can grip with your large toe. Marbles seem to be a popular choice, but I would get creative and test my toe’s strength and agility. I have been working with pencils lately as a challenge. With each foot, grip and pick up your item, moving it either laterally or outwardly from it. Drop it and repeat the process. Working on the grip strength of your big toe particularly will help to rework the muscles in your feet. Try this 10-20 times with your object(s.)
A simple and easy to accomplish task. Get outside and plant your feet on a slightly uneven surface such as grass, sand, etc and focus on grounding yourself in your stride. Feel the texture of the ground beneath your feet and move your foot around to diversify its mobility. There are many scientifically balanced benefits to Grounding, and it is a way to reconnect your physicality with the earth.
With my mind geared toward longevity and preventative measures, I am incorporating these actions into my running routine. I believe it is never too late to start and shift your focus toward ongoing functionality with whatever activity you enjoy. Even if bunions transpire, a positive mindset matched with taking action will inevitably lead to better support for your body in the future.
Looking for more support?
If you find these activities are not enough to help your bunion, whether in a preventative stage or full-on, we here at Feet First are here to help!
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