What to do about Bunion Pain?

What are bunions?

Bunions (medical term “hallux valgus”) are formed when the big toe drifts in the direction of the second toe, forming a painful and abnormal joint angle. Similarly bunionettes are formed when the ‘pinky’ toe drifts in the direction of the big toe. Bunions are sometimes quite painful, especially when bony enlargements form as a result of the strain at the joint. Bunions often cause increased calluses and blisters joint area because of faulty walking and running biomechanics.

What causes bunions?
Bunions are often caused by prolonged wearing of faulty footwear. Serial offenders are pointy toed shoes, heeled shoes and boots with narrow footbeds and dress shoes. Bunions can also be formed gradually over time with wearing too narrow of a shoe for your foot type.

How to tell if your shoe is too narrow for your foot
Place your foot on a piece of paper and draw around the perimeter of it. Now take your shoes’ insole and lay it over your drawing (if no insoles then cut out your drawing and lay it over the top of the shoe). Ideally your shoe should be wide enough in the forefoot to accommodate the width your drawing. If not, you’re wearing too narrow of a shoe.
How can bunions can alter your running and walking mechanics

Bunions can limit how far the big toe can extend backwards. (Try this experiment: take your big toe and pull it upwards, you should be able to get at least 50 degrees of bending) This has huge translations to whether the ball of the foot can bend during uphill walking/running during toe-off. If range of motion here is limited by a bunion, the result is eversion (or pointing out) of the foot and excessive pronation. The spinning of the ball of the foot as pronation occurs is what causes blisters and calluses to form. Over time, other complications arise: plantar fasciitis and possibly knee pain.

What to do if you have bunions
– First of all, get into a good pair of wider shoes. Use the cut-out method above to find one that fits. Don’t be afraid to bring your cut-out to a reputable shoe store so you make the right purchase.
– Physical Therapy may be able to help with guidance towards joint mobilization and stretches/exercises for a few visits, but the solution tends to be a long-term one. Changing your daily footwear habits would be the most useful defense to bunions.

– There are many splints and devices on the market to help reverse the angle and improve range of motion of the toe joint. One that we’ve tried, tested and trust is “Correct Toes“. (ask us how to get free shipping)

What if the bunion pain is really bad?
We suggest you consult with a podiatrist. They can further delineate whether you need more invasive procedures. The rehab from some surgeries can be long, but some surgeries have shown to be effective in eliminating the pain from this type of foot injury. Just ask us for a referral and we can point several trusted podiatrists your way.

By Alice Holland, DPT.
Alice’s Google + page.

Doctor of Physical Therapy, Director at Stride Strong Physical Therapy

Ana Lucia Pinheiro
Ana Lucia Pinheiro
02:18 20 Oct 17
This place is amazing. I am so happy I found Stride Strong PT. Alice pays attention to all of the details, she watches every single move I make, my posture, and the way I move through every exercise. She is very knowledgeable, she was able to pin-point the problems in my back and she has a plan to help me become stronger where I need. The place is brand new, huge, and has nice exercise machines. I tried a few physical therapists in the area, and Alice is TOP, second to none, and I feel super lucky to have found her. Highly recommended!!
Prashant Gupta
Prashant Gupta
01:00 02 Oct 17
Dr. Alice at Stride Strong is one of the best PTs I have come across. Her attention to detail and assessment of the root cause of injury is very good. She is excellent in evaluating pain patterns and giving a training schedule for a rehab & injury prevention, she is extremely knowledgeable. I would strongly recommend Stride Strong to anyone looking for PT. It is easily the best PT clinics in Hillsboro area.
steven zollin
steven zollin
20:57 14 Sep 17
Highly recommend Stride Strong Physical Therapy , Alice showed me proper form to assist in recovery with my shoulder and is very knowledgeable.
Lindsay Nied
Lindsay Nied
23:33 18 Dec 17
I recently had a massage from Joel at the Hillsboro location. He was able to work on an ongoing issue I have been experiencing with my back after a sports injury, and I left feeling so much better. The whole facility looked incredible, and everyone I met was friendly and welcoming. I would highly recommend Stride Strong for massage and physical therapy.
JoAnn Hatch
JoAnn Hatch
08:20 08 Nov 17
Dr. Sydney is by far the absolute best physical therapist I've worked with ever! Her expertise in designing highly effective and efficient exercise plans is beyond compare. I feel so much better as my strength and function increases. She comes up with the most brilliant and fun ideas to motivate. To my delight she even offered to come to my home in Vancouver and work with me on my own equipment including a Stott Pilates Reformer. Talk about going above and beyond! Couldn't be more grateful I found her!!!
Clare Perry
Clare Perry
21:58 23 Oct 17
A full hour of a dedicated PT professional's time without aides or techs? That's just one of the things that sets this clinic apart from others. Competent, professional, and amiable, Dr. Alice Holland and her team are the best in the area. While I generally see them at the Cedar Mill Clinic on Cornell, situational constraints took me to their new Hillsboro clinic today near Intel Jones Farm. Beautifully furnished, spacious with easy parking and access. May you continue to grow and thrive, Stride Strong!
Joyce Heideman
Joyce Heideman
08:28 11 May 18
After foot surgery I went to Stride Strong for therapy with Alice Holland. She helped me reach my full mobility again by continuously introducing new and challenging exercises. The entire staff is friendly and professional. They are always on time and do not rush. I look forward to doing 1/2 marathons again and riding my recumbent trike. Thank you Stride Strong for your care and high level of expertise.
Suad Daher
Suad Daher
20:48 28 Feb 18
The best physical therapy ever. Both JP and Sydney were a great PT, they helped me understand how I can help treat my injury and how it may have caused. And also they informed about so many techniques that I can use to help my injuries or any other injuries I get in the near future. They are both friendly and nice to talk too, and verbunformative. And there is also Krystal, she is the best front desk receptionist ever, she is nice and friendly and can easily manage your schedule based on the patients comfort if they want to schedule or not. She can help and she replies fast to any patients email. And she is easy to talk to. Thank you Stride Strong Physical Therapy.
Amanda O'Rourke
Amanda O'Rourke
21:38 15 Jun 18
In just a month I've seen great progress! I've been incorporating the exercises taught to me into my daily workout routine. Im very happy with my continued results.
Albert Szal
Albert Szal
23:43 10 Jun 18
Mary Szal here: I've had three sessions with Brittany at the Hillsboro location. I can say that she has been the most effective and instructive physical therapist I've ever experienced. Her personality, energy, knowledge and results are top notch.
Osa Phiangdae
Osa Phiangdae
00:05 22 Mar 18
Awesome place for PT. Hillsboro location has plenty of parking and very spacious. I had the pleasure to work mostly with Dr. Alice Holland and JP. I came in with a shoulder injury and thank goodness they understood what I was going through. They are the best of what they do, I would recommend Stride Strong to anyone who needs PT.
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