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What are bunions?



Many runners suffer with big toe pain during or after runs. This is often due to, or the beginning of the development of bunions, alternatively known as a 'hallux valgus' deformity. A bunion is the term used to describe the painful inward slanting orientation of the big toe, so that its tip becomes squeezed towards the smaller toes. Over time this increased angle of the big toe worsens and a protruding lump may develop on the inside of the foot, where the toe joins with the foot.


What causes bunions and big toe pain?



Factors that may cause the development of big toe pain or bunions include:
  • Abnormal running biomechanics
  • Wearing tight footwear, often a cause for development of bunions in women.
  • Abnormal postures of the feet
Overtime, tight footwear that squeeze the toes together can result in the development of toe pain and eventually bunions, however this is not usually the cause in runners. Over pronation describes the excessive inward-rolling of the feet during weight bearing positions. As this happens, excessive forces are transmitted through the structures on the inner-side of the foot, forcing the big toe towards the other toes. Over time this results in pain and development of bunions in runners.


What are the symptoms of big toe pain and bunions?



Pain and deformity of the big toe are the major signs and symptoms of this condition. Pain is localised to the base of the big toe, where it joins to the foot. Other symptoms may include:
  • Pain during running or walking
  • Swelling / inflammation around the big toe.
  • Progressive angling of the big toe towards the smaller toes.
  • Development of a protruding lump at the base of the big toe.
  • Pain whilst wearing tight footwear
  • Increased pain climbing stairs or ascending hills

Biomechanical analysis for bunions and big toe pain



In runners, abnormal running mechanics is often the main cause of big toe pain. Although over pronation is often isolated as the major cause in this group of individuals, it is important to understand its cause, which can develop from:
  • Collapsed arches of the feet
  • Poor ankle and foot control whilst running
  • Poor control and muscle weakness at the hip
  • Abnormal valgus angles at the knee (knock knee posture)
  • Poor choice of equipment e.g. running shoe.
Our physiotherapists at Physio.co.uk offer video gait analysis of your biomechanics. By filming your running style on a treadmill we are able to provide real-time and retrospective analysis of your running mechanics to highlight any abnormalities in your technique that are likely to be causing your pain. Furthermore, we will provide you with a specific treatment programme to correct these abnormalities and stop your toe pain.

To arrange a biomechanical running assessment with one of the specialist physiotherapists, please call Physio.co.uk on 0330 088 7800 today. You can also book appointments online using our online booking system


Call us on: 0330 088 7800
Phone: 0330 088 7800
Call us on: 0330 088 7800
Mobile: 0330 088 7800
Email us on: office@physio.co.uk
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Physiolates - Pilates in Manchester