A Guide to Running with Bunions
Happy marathon season! For running enthusiasts, the changing leaves and pumpkin spice craze come with a calendar full of marathon opportunities. It’s an exciting time of year…unless this means you have to run with bunions.
Unfortunately, for runners with bunions, marathon season can also be stressful. Say you signed up for a 26.2-miler months in advance, paid a hefty fee to reserve your spot, and began training. But as the miles wore on, your feet wore down, and you ended up with a runner’s worst nightmare: an inflamed bunion. It’s painful and inconvenient, and you’re afraid it means that marathon is way beyond your limits. It’s just too painful to run with bunions.
Not fun. But here’s the good news: You can still run those 26.2 miles. You’re just going to need a little help.
Let’s back up first, though: A bunion is essentially when the metatarsal bone on the inside of your foot starts pointing in a different direction from your big toe. It’ll form a sharp, angular bump toward the base of your big toe, and if you’re a runner, that bump will absorb some serious impact every time your foot hits the ground. And it’ll hurt. And it’ll make running pretty dang difficult.
Given your bunion situation, the marathon probably doesn’t sound feasible at this point, it sounds like torture to run with bunions. But you can turn that around! Here are a few of your options:
Disclaimer: We only put this option first because it would probably be the first thing to pop into your head, since these surgeries happen all the time. Bunion surgeries are extremely commonplace, yes, but they’re not easy – and often times, they’re not effective in the long run (pun intended).
Recovery from surgery can take months. Jogging, for example, wouldn’t be possible for at least six to nine months after your bunion surgery, which definitely wouldn’t allow for proper marathon training time. Also, more than a quarter of bunion surgery patients report dissatisfaction with their results, in which case – what’s the point?
Update your gear
Shoes are important. Opt for footwear that’s wide (and perhaps a half size up from what you typically wear), has a cushioned toe area, and has a round, deep toe box to minimize painful contact.
Good shoes won’t eliminate your bunion, but they can mitigate the effects of it and make running a lot more comfortable for you. So, there you go. An excuse to go buy new shoes. Lacing your shoes differently can also make it easier to run with bunions.
Protect your foot
Toe-spacers can help to temporarily re-position your big toes but what about the other toes that get spread out and pushed around in an already tight toe box in your shoe? Consider something you can wear while you’re running: the Bunion Bootie.
Bunion Booties are ultra thin, flexible bunion splints that fit under socks and running shoes (or any shoes, really), and they help to temporarily correct your big toe’s positioning. Added bonus: They can also protect your bunion from chafing. So, do yourself a favor. Grab a Bunion Bootie. Wear it and run with bunions. Train for a marathon. Drink a pumpkin spice latte. You won’t regret it.