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Our approach to surgery integrates both body and mind. Our guiding principle is to treat you with the utmost respect, help you make an educated decision, and to provide you with the finest medical services in the safest, most professional and comfortable environment.

Bunions and Runners

Bunion is the name for that ugly, bony bump residing at the base of your big toe. The enlargement is composed of both the bone from the joint where the big and second toe meet, as well as tissue from the swollen bursal sac that surrounds the joint.

Bunions occur when the big toe is constantly pressed up against the other toes, forcing the big toe into an unnatural, uncomfortable angle. Over time, the joint is compromised and begins to stick out as a testament to the abuse it has suffered.

For those who engage in a repetitive sport like running, bunions can be especially painful. Each foot strike puts pressure on the weak metatarsophalangeal joint and the sensitive surrounding tissues. Because bunions occur when foot alignment or structure is off, the location is also vulnerable to additional friction and press from running shoes.

Some runners with bunions have no symptoms, but many end up having to cut their training short, or even stop running completely.

Many runners develop them because they overpronate or wear ill-fitting shoes, but the most common cause is inheritance of foot structures susceptible to bunions. Either way, those with bunions need to learn to rehabilitate their feet with a few simple steps if they hope to continue running pain-free.

Common Causes of Bunions in Runners

  • Ill-fitting shoes
  • Overpronation or other mechanical deficiencies
  • Previous foot injuries
  • Congenital deformities

Inflammatory or degenerative forms of arthritis that undermine the cartilage surrounding the big toe joint can also lead to bunions, as can standing for long periods of time in tight, pointed shoes.


The most important measure in preventing or treating bunions is making sure that you have properly fitting running shoes. Too narrow shoes are often the culprits, so select a pair with a spacious toebox. You may also want to see a podiatrist to have your foot and ankle structure assessed. A podiatrist will be able to determine if you need orthotics, as give you more information about what type of running shoe will best suit your feet.

It can also help to place a toe separator between the big and second toe in order to create the space needed to ensure that your big toe is in proper alignment. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication and icing can help reduce pain and swelling.

Read about cosmetic podiatry for bunion and other conditions.

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