Our feet are literally our foundation, and there’s nothing worse than when they’re sore and achy. Especially when you have bunions, you may be experiencing quite a bit of foot pain that I’m sure you’d like to relieve (preferably without surgery!).
It is possible to shrink bunions naturally, using simple yet effective exercises. While these exercises are primarily focused on your feet, remember that everything is connected. Addressing issues like flexibility and hip or core strength can also have an impact on bunions and foot pain.
So, let’s get rid of those bunions and give your feet some real relief!
5 Exercises To Shrink Bunions Naturally
Like I demonstrate in the video above, there are 5 exercises I like to recommend for my clients who are struggling with bunions and foot pain. I’ll be using some props for these exercises – namely a rubber band, and a small, squishy ball that’s a bit smaller than a tennis ball (you can find these at a local sports store or even the dollar store). Like always, if you don’t have these props, no worries! You can easily adjust the moves without them.
In these exercises, I’ll also be talking a lot about pressing through the mound of your big toe, which is the big pad at the base of your big toe. It’s also important to keep your toes relaxed throughout all these exercises, so that you’re never gripping them.
So, let’s jump into the 5 exercises that can help shrink bunions naturally.
#1 Modified Heel Raises
For this exercise, we’ll use the rubber band and ball if you’ve got ‘em. Place the ball in between your heels, and loop the rubber band around your two big toes, with your toes pointing forward. These tools will help with control throughout the exercise. You may also want to hold onto something like a chair to keep your balance.
Before we start with the heel raises, press through the mound of your big toes, spread your toes nice and wide, and be mindful to keep them relaxed. You also want to be careful not to roll onto the outside of your feet – the ball and band should help with this.
Squeezing the ball, make sure you’re rolling off the mound of your big toe as you raise up and lower your heels back down gently.
#2 Foot Intrinsics Exercises
For the next set of exercises, we’ll be working on the tiny muscles on the bottom of your feet called the ‘foot instrisics.’ These exercises are deceptively hard, but I promise: the more you do them, the more control you’ll have and the easier they’ll get.
To begin, stand in a relaxed posture with your feet about hip-width apart or so, toes pointing forward. You’re going to want to keep watching your toes throughout these exercises, to see what they’re doing.
Begin by trying to keep your four little toes down, while you line your big toes up (again, pressing through that big toe mound). Again, this might be harder than you’d think!
Do this for both feet, noticing the subtle differences in how your toes react, often differently on each side.
Then switch, leaving your big toes down while you pull your other toes up.
Finally, try to spread your toes as far apart as you can, and then lift and lower them.
Try to keep your feet relaxed, so that you’re only using the muscles on the bottom of your feet. As an added bonus, the muscles that innervate the nerves of your foot are the same that work for your pelvic floor (!). So by working the muscles on the bottom of your feet in this simple way, you’re also working your entire core system.
I love these exercises, because they can help you become aware of how much you’re gripping your feet. You can also easily sprinkle them in throughout the day, whenever you’re standing up. Try them the next time you’re waiting in line!
#3 Loosen Up Your Calf Muscles
Remembering that everything is connected, the next exercise to heal bunions actually focuses on any tight muscles in your calves.
For this exercise, grab the small ball again and come to a seating position on the ground.
Place your calf over the ball, and roll your calf over it, looking for any tender spots.
Once you find one of those spots, stay there, and gently point and flex your toes, or even do foot circles if that feels good.
This is a myofascial release technique – be careful, as more is not always better. About 30-60 seconds in each spot is enough to hydrate those tissues.
Try to find 2-3 spots on one calf, and then switch over to the other leg, always using your breath to avoid tensing up.
#4 Stabilize The Hips
Next up for relieving bunions, we’re actually going to be working on control and stability in our hips. Remember, our feet, hips and core are all connected, so we need to strengthen all areas to get the balance we’re craving.
Start by standing on your left leg and really press down through the big toe mound again. Focus on squeezing your left glute as you gently drop your rib cage down and lean forward, with your right leg behind you.
Option One for this exercise is to keep your toes on the ground. Option Two is to lean forward, making sure your hips stay facing the ground, as you lift your right foot off the ground. You can simply hold this position, or you can start moving your right hip by peeling it open to the ceiling, and then moving it slowly back down.
And like always, repeat on the other side.
This exercise gets your hips, core and foot muscles all working together – so powerful.
#5 Spread Your Toes
Mindfully spreading your toes is great for your feet. But there’s also a simple way to passively create more space between your toes.
Simply grab a sock and weave it through your toes, so they’re all naturally more spread apart. This should feel great, and it’s easy to do. Perfect for when you’re relaxing!
More Ways To Relieve Bunion Pain Naturally
OK, ladies. We probably all know this by now. But here’s a reminder: stop wearing super narrow shoes! Yes, they’re gorgeous and fun to wear, and every once in a while, I’ll still break out my favorite high heels.
But most of the time, I’m wearing my wide toe box shoes that let me spread my toes apart and actually use the muscles at the bottom of my feet.
In narrow shoes, your toes are squished together, you’re not able to use your intrinsic foot muscles and the big toe starts to move inwards, creating that bunion we’re trying to fix. So let those puppies breathe!
And I’m willing to sound like a broken record here because the message is so important. Everything in our bodies is connected, so working on your core strength can help with all sorts of aches and pains in your body, including in your feet. Check out my ReWire Your Core & Pelvic Floor 10 Day Program if you’d like to dive deeper.
Finally, consistency is key. Keep working with these exercises and you will see results! Namaste.