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Tips for Working Out with Bunions

Tips for Working Out with Bunions

Bunions can make working out a challenge, but they don’t have to sideline your fitness goals entirely. With the right approach and some modifications, you can still get your work out without exacerbating your bunion!

If you have bunions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Aamir Mahmood, DPM,  Joseph Wilson, DPM, FACFAS, and the Momentum Foot & Ankle Clinic team to get the treatment you need for bunions. 

In the meantime, here are seven tips for working out with bunions.

Invest in high-quality athletic shoes

Look for shoes with wide toe boxes and good arch support to alleviate pressure on your toes. Avoid narrow shoes, which can squeeze your toes and worsen your bunions. 

Higher-quality shoes are available in different widths, so choose the one that’s right for you. The North American system uses an alphabetic system to determine foot width: AAA, AA, A, B, C, D, E, EE, EEE, where A is narrow and E is wide. 

Choose your workout routines carefully 

Choose low-impact exercises that minimize stress on your feet. Activities like swimming, water aerobics, indoor and outdoor cycling, and using an elliptical machine are gentle on your foot joints while still providing an effective workout. Yoga and Pilates can also strengthen muscles and improve flexibility without aggravating bunions.

A note on cycling shoes: Many cycling shoes are narrow. Just like any other athletic shoe, wear those with wider toe boxes. 

Modify high-impact activities 

Many workouts are high-impact. If you enjoy high-impact exercises like running or HIIT-style aerobics, consider modifying your routine to reduce strain on your feet. 

Shorten your running stride (this decreases the toe push-off and puts less pressure on your toes), choose softer surfaces like grass or a cushioned treadmill, and wear supportive shoes with orthotic inserts. 

Give your toes a workout

Strengthening the muscles in your feet can help stabilize your joints and alleviate bunion pain. Toe curls, towel scrunches, and marble pickups improve foot strength and flexibility. 

Don’t skip your rest day

Whether you’re training for a half marathon or trying to lose weight, your rest days are non-negotiable, so don’t skip them! 

In addition to resting throughout the week, listen to your body. Pay attention to how your feet feel during — and after — exercise. 

If you experience pain or discomfort, stop and rest to prevent exacerbating your bunions. Ice your toe joint, elevate your feet, and consider using over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications as needed. 

Wear orthotics 

If you’re prescribed orthotics, wear them as instructed. Orthotics provide support and help keep your foot in proper alignment.

Get help for your bunions

The most important thing you can do for your bunions is to seek podiatric care. Orthotics, padding, and shoe changes can help you manage your bunion, but in some cases, surgery may be the best path forward — especially if your pain makes it hard to log your steps each day. 

During bunion correction surgery, Dr. Mahmood or Dr. Wilson reposition your joint and secure it with pins, plates, and screws. 

Don’t let your bunion sabotage your workout plans! Give us a call at our Michigan City, Chesterton, Indiana, or Lombard, Illinois, office to schedule a consultation and learn more about your bunion treatment options.


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