When your toes don’t interact with the ground in a balanced way, the rest of your body compensates, compromising the elegance of your posture and the grace of your movement. Toes are not just decorative. Bunions are a build-up of bony and soft tissue at the base of the big toe that is the body’s attempt to stabilize imbalance at the joint between the first metatarsal bone and the toe. The big toe slants toward the 2nd toe so that the pressure on the joint in walking occurs across an oblique angle. Every step perpetuates the problem. Coincident with bunions are poor function at the mid-foot (either high, rigid arches or flat feet). You can learn more about your feet in Lesson 4 of my DVD workshop, Heal Your Posture, and on page 144 of The New Rules of Posture.
The tendency to develop bunions is probably genetic, but the deformity is worsened by wearing high heels, especially those with pointed toes, placing increased pressure on the ball of the big toe. Bunions may also develop through the habit of walking with the hips rotated outward. This “turn out” causes the foot to plant along a diagonal from heel to big toe rather than rotating symmetrically around the midline of the foot. Symptoms include redness, swelling, loss of mobility and pain, although many people who have bunions are symptom free.
In the accompanying video I share exercises that can retard the development of bunions by teaching you to ground your big toe. Practicing them is beneficial to your posture even if you don’t have bunions. Grounding the big toe gives you a lift that travels up the inner leg and thigh into the pelvis. I’d love to know how this works for you.