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A Bunion or Hallux Valgus is a condition that affects your big toe, creating a bump on the side of the base of the big toe. The bump associated with a Bunion results from the change in position of the 1st metatarsal and the phalanx of the big toe, where the big toe moves away from the midline and towards the 2nd toe. It can become red, inflamed and swollen, and this article will explain the steps you can take to shrink bunions naturally.
It is essential to keep in mind that a bunion is the result of a structural change in the position of the Metatarsopharangeal joint (base of the big toe), and while correcting this position once the change has occurred is extremely hard, there are steps you can take to reduce the size, inflammation and irritation or a bunion.
Related Article: Symptoms & Causes of a Bunion
Choosing the correct footwear is one of the most important factors when trying to shrink bunion size. Wearing a tight-fitting shoe can cause swelling and increased pain in a bunion. If your shoe is too tight in the toe box, especially if the shoe comes to a point, it squeezes the toes together, encouraging the big toe to deviate towards the 2nd toe.
We suggest wearing a cushioned trainer that helps by absorbing the impact and vibration from the ground when walking to protect the big toe joint. Secondly, a wide-fitting shoe provides optimal space for your toes to spread when walking or standing.
Related Article: Best Running Shoes for Bunions
The 1st metatarsal deviates inward for those with a bunion, leading to a bump on the base of the big toe. As the Peroneal Longus muscle attaches to it, strengthening exercises can help to reduce the bump and shrink a bunion size. Other factors to consider are strengthening the arch of your foot to help control excess pronation moments that cause bunion formation and irritation. Muscles such as the Soleus and Posterior Tibial Tendon provide stability to the foot arch, and below, we demonstrate how to strengthen these alongside the Peroneal Longus.
Related Article: Best Exercises for Bunions
Orthotics or Insoles for bunions help to optimise the mechanics of the foot, and they can reduce the force going through a bunion. If you have a flexible bunion with minimal to no pain, orthotics can help optimise how your foot moves. Ideally, we should place up to 70% of our body weight through our big toe joint; if it is flexible, then orthotics can facilitate this. For cases where a bunion is painful or stiff, orthotics can reduce the amount of extension the big toe performs when walking, reducing pain, inflammation and shrinking the size of a bunion.
Related Article: Best Insoles for Bunions
Impact activity places high levels of force through the big toe joint leading to inflammation, redness and pain. Activities such as running and jumping, in particular, can make a bunion unhappy and accelerate the speed of change within the joint. As a result, we would recommend doing these sporadically for short periods, in the correct footwear or in painful bunions, and changing them for non-impact activity.
Swimming is the best non-impact activity with the lowest likelihood of aggravating a bunion, while elliptical or cycling are good alternatives.
Bunion correctors come in the form of a sleeve with a gel pad on the outside of the big toe for extra cushioning, or they can provide maximum support with a bar and straps that help to reposition the big toe joint. A bunion corrector can help to reduce pain levels by offloading the painful joint.
Bunion Socks have a separate compartment for the big toe with cushioning between the 1st and 2nd toes to reduce blistering, friction and soreness between toes.