Posture and bunions, how are they related?
Many mothers begin promoting proper posture to their children at a very early age. “Stand up straight!” would often accompany a quick poke in the back. Now that I’m in my 30s, I wish I still had that reminder and poke in the pack while I type away at my desk all day.
I used to think I had good posture, but as I wrote this, I sat up straight and realized there is a lot of improvement to make in my posture department.
And what does posture have to do with bunions, you ask? Well, the answer depends on who you talk to.
Pete Egoscue has been successfully helping people relieve all sorts of pain since the early ’70s and according to one friend of his (and a notable golfer), Jack Nicklaus, “Pete Egoscue totally changed [his] life.” Since establishing more than 25 clinics, including a few in Japan and Mexico, Pete Egoscue has been teaching a therapy method to relieve chronic pain for the young, the old, the athlete, the non-athlete, the famous and the infamous. This unique method is based on the body’s functional design, or posture. Therefore, to put it simply, Pete Egoscue is a “posture therapist.”
By achieving muscular balance and reincorporating muscles that might have largely gone dormant due to non-use over the course of many years, Egoscue believes that by doing a few simple (and sometimes stagnant) exercises, you may slowly begin to awaken those unused or underutilized muscle groups. Your body will then start to relearn the proper way of moving. Many people have sought out the help of Pete Egoscue and his crew for a variety of ailments including, but not limited to: headaches, carpal-tunnel syndrome, sciatica, knee and ankle pain and – last but not least – even bunions!
Having read “Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain,” I can certainly see the value in Egoscue’s method right away. He teaches you how to slowly re-engage muscles such as your hip flexors (have you even heard of those before?) and you learn that the hips can actually be a strong contributing factor to bunion development. By “skating” on the inner edges of your feet, you are actually creating pressure unnecessarily. The body protects that area by creating more bone there.
To add to Egoscue’s theory, WebMD states: “Bunions may be caused by foot mechanics that result in too much pressure on the big toe joint. An abnormal foot motion called excessive pronation … may contribute to the pressure. Over time, the constant pressure forces the big toe out of alignment, gradually bending it toward the other toes.”
According to an article called “The Truth About Bunions” by Carol Gamboa, who is also AET-certified by the Egoscue University, it’s not uncommon to find that if someone has a bunion on only their right foot, they actually stand with up to 65 percent of their body weight shifted right of their natural center. After beginning a daily routine under her guidance, Carol’s clients begin to balance weight evenly between the left and right side and their bunions stopped hurting! Without fixing the root cause of the issue, even surgery could prove to be ineffective to rid bunion pain permanently.
Now of course, if you have bunions on both feet, a full and proper analysis of your bio-mechanics and joint position are in order. Bones follow the muscles’ lead. The good news is that muscles can be trained to do new things or to do old things even better. The bad news is, if the muscles are not functioning properly, joints can be pulled out of position and result in any one of the following conditions: muscle strain, arthritis, tendonitis, joint degradation and bunions.