B
efore you even start reading, grab a couple of letter-sized pieces of white paper and trace the shape of both your feet. Observe. Life is too often so crazy that we forget to do the easiest thing: watch…

 

Now answer these questions:

  • Is your foot flat and wide on the drawings?
  • Do you see a bump at the base of the big toe in the foot tracing you just did?
  • On both feet?
  • Does it hurt?
  • Is the flexibility of the big toe joint considerably limited by that bump?

 

If YES is the answer to two or more of these questions, you might have developed a bunion.

 

WHAT EXACTLY IS A BUNION?

The Bunion (hallux valgus), together with hammer toes, is a condition that can be both painful and disfiguring. The condition consists in a change of the bone alignment at the joint at the base of the big toe (where the big toe meets the foot).

 

As the first metatarsal moves away from the foot (from the other metatarsal bones), the big toe slowly bends towards the other toes. As a result, the soft tissue between the big toe and the second toe becomes retracted and, on the opposite side, the soft tissue on the medial foot is stretched and in tension. Sometimes the second toe even overlaps the big toe.

 

Many factors contribute to its development:

  • The type of foot that you inherited — those foot structures that are more prone to instability like the flat foot and hyper-mobile foot
  • Learned behavior — often we unconsciously emulate our mom’s or role models in the way they stand, walk and move.
  • Walking with an excessive turnout — like dancers do
  • Disorders of the nerves that control the foot and the ankle
  • Trauma at the foot
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Disorders at the connective tissue — tendons, joint capsules and ligaments
  • Tight shoe box and poor fitting shoes like high heels — these types of shoes keep the big toe out of its physiological position and alignment and they irritate the soft tissue and the skin over the bunion. When the constant friction against the shoes is really bad, it can also become infected.

 

Usually pain, swelling, redness, burning, tingling and loss of motion of the big toe are the characteristics of a bunion. At the same time: pronounced bunions aren’t always painful, some people are symptom free. At other times the bunion doesnt look too bad, but its really painful and largely limits the activities of the person affected:

 

When the big toe is in an abnormal position for a prolonged time, the distribution of the load in the foot changes, creating compensations and affecting not only the whole structure of the foot, but other mechanics in the gait of the body above.

 

rescueloop_final

 

The Rescue LOOP, the tool that I redesigned, provides a large variety of exercises that immensely help the bunion condition. This tool consists of four leather loops connected by a spring resistance.

 

I know, it looks funny, and I always have people staring at it when I pull it out of my purse! Here’s how it works. Put the 2 big toes into the Foot Strap and put the spring in tension. The space between the toes increases, reversing the position of the toes inside the tight shoe, which largely contributes to the bunion condition. Of course it’s not going to stay, but all those movements with the big toes into the 2 leather loops will give some space to the toes.

After the toes get some space we want to strengthen the abductor hallucis (the abductor of the big toe) because it gets weak and tight when there is a bunion condition. This is not an easy exercise. It requires a lot of coordination and it can be quite frustrating in the very beginning. Always take your time and be patient, your feet will learn a new way to move and be.

 

The video that I will post in the next blog will help you understand better the use of this prop and the unbelievable benefits.

 

I invite and urge everybody who wears high heels and may be has a family history of bunion, to start doing these exercises as soon as possible. Attacking the problem when it’s just rising, and when the joint is not completely compromised, is key to solve this problem without recurring to the surgery.

 

What’s your personal experience with the bunion? Did you find any relief from these type of exercises?

 

Let me know. The High Heel Rescue program can really help you find relief.