The last blog, Bunions Part 4 addressed the Physical Therapy treatment for bunions. The treatment selected is based on the physical therapy evaluation of the individual presenting for therapy. Not every case is the same. Sometimes the faulty mechanics in the foot have origins in the lumbar spine, hip or knee. These exercises are not included as there is more variability in patient presentation. This blog includes some common exercises for the ankle and foot to prevent the progression of bunions.
1 Short foot exercise –to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot Sit with your foot on the ground. Keeping your heel and ball of foot on the ground, try to pull the forefoot towards the heel without curling the toes. This will create an arch.
2 Toe spreading Sit with your foot on the ground. While keeping the heel and ball of foot on the ground, try to spread your toes. While keeping them spread, press the baby toe down on the ground and then the big toe down on the ground.
3 Lift big toe Sit with your foot on the ground. Try to lift the big toe while keeping the other 4 toes down on the ground.
4 Lift the other 4 toes Sit with your foot on the ground. Try to lift the outside 4 toes while keeping the big toe down on the ground.
5 Heel raise to strengthen tibialis posterior muscle Stand with your knees slightly bent. Elevate your arch. Then raise your heel off the ground, concentrating on keeping the heel turned inward. Don’t lose pressure under the big toe.
6 Calf stretch – to stretch gastrocnemius, soleus and Achilles tendon Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall. Place the leg to be stretched back with the toes pointed forward and knee straight. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the calf. Hold 30 seconds. Then slightly bend the back knee. Hold 30 seconds.