Adjusting to walking again after bunion

25 March 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Bunions can be extremely painful and may eventually need to be removed by surgery. The surgery can be very effective in removing the bunion but patients often require some support to learn how to walk again effectively, both managing the adjustment to the post-surgical pain as well as correcting any changes to the gait that occurred while the bunion was affecting the foot. 

Here are some exercises that can help you to regain full function in your big toe. 

Range of motion 

One of the things that can happen post surgery is stiffness. An exercise you can try to manage this is to point your big toe out in front of you, and gently flex the toe back and forward as far as you can flex without any significant pain. You can try doing this ten times every hour, and over time, you should find that you can move your toe over a great range of motion. You can also try writing the letters of the alphabet, or spell out your name in the air with your feet. 


The big toe has an important role in balance as it takes on a lot of the weight bearing within the foot. Initially, you can try sitting in a kitchen chair and stretching your foot out in front of the chair against a wall. You can then gently push into the wall, holding for as long as you can comfortably. Over time your strength should increase then you can try to stand on tip toes to take on your whole body weight. It's a good idea to initially try any tiptoe exercises next to a wall, in case you fall over the first time. 

Light exercises

You may be eager to get back to exercise after being laid up with this bunion. As you get out of the hospital you may need to initially walk through a moon boot. It can be a great idea to slowly get back into aerobic exercise by choosing some exercises that don't place undue stress on your toe. Cycling can be a great option as can swimming and hydrotherapy while still getting back to full strength in your foot. 

Getting some support from a physio to ensure that you are doing exercises correctly and help you with extra massage and mobilisation to manage your pain and stiffness. This can help you to recover more quickly and get back on your feet.