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Hallux valgus is the terror of runners. What to do about it?

  • Added: 26.09.2022   |   2549 readings / views

Unfortunately, hallux valgus is an integral part of life for many runners. Olympic runner Marcela Joglová is no exception. The problem with hallux valgus is not just how it looks, but also the pain it causes and the fact that the foot does not function as it should. How and why does this deformity occur, how to go running with it, and how to avoid hallux valgus in the first place? 

Hallux valgus is not just about its appearance

You can recognise it immediately, as the big toe is bent towards the other toes. Why does it move away from its original position? This can be caused by the muscles of the foot working incorrectly, particularly the abductor hallucis. The carpal joint also rotates, pushing outwards. Bruising can then appear at the carpal joint, as the foot does not sit in the shoe as it should. Is hallux valgus painful? Sometimes it is, and not just the deformity itself, but you can also occasionally experience discomfort when wearing shoes.

The fact that the muscles in the foot do not work properly means that hallux valgus is also often accompanied by flat feet. In extreme cases, hallux valgus may even require surgery. However, correcting the deformity is only part of the solution, as treatment must focus particularly on the cause of the problem, in order to prevent it from recurring.

Why hallux valgus is so annoying for runners

Runners are susceptible not only to hallux valgus, but also to lots of other deformities and problems in the form of injuries and other complications. The causes of all these problems are constantly recurring, and in general excess strain, inadequate regeneration or unsuitable footwear are most commonly to blame.

So when are you likely to be afflicted by hallux valgus? When you place excessive strain on your feet for a long time, when you run in unsuitable shoes (because of their type, material, design or size), when you run on unsuitable ground (such as constantly on asphalt), when you have a bad running stereotype or, for example, when you do not listen or pay attention to your body.

What works when treating hallux valgus

The earlier you notice the deformity, the easier it is to get rid of. Focus on returning the big toe to its original natural position and also on identifying and eliminating the causes of the problem, as mentioned above.

The position of the big toe can be corrected in a number of ways. These include kinesio taping, where the tape takes the strain off the abductor hallucis or strengthens the position of the joint. It can also partially relieve the pain. Exercises for hallux valgus are also highly effective. There are several exercises that you can easily do at home with no assistance needed. These include relaxing the big toe, where you use one hand to hold the carpal joint and the other to wiggle and twiddle your big toe. You can also try pulling the big toe away from the other toes, or hooking a rubber band around your big toe and drawing the soles away from one another as you sit with your feet on the ground. 
Like exercises, Foot Alignment Socks with toe separators can also help you stretch and relax the muscles in your foot. Using orthopaedic insoles regularly can also play a major role.

How to avoid hallux valgus

Firstly, do not underestimate the importance of choosing suitable footwear, and secondly, quality regeneration is needed, either passive (sleep, baths, etc.) or active (mobilisation exercises, massages). And, of course, do not put strain on your feet for too long. 

And what does Marcela Joglová do as part of her foot regeneration routine? One indispensible aid to regeneration is her miniature ‘hedgehog’, which she uses to massage her soles and stretch the muscles in her feet whenever she can. She also often carries Foot Alignment Socks with her, which give her a great deal of relief not only after training, but also after being on her feet all day. At the same time, Marcela also finds a massage, lymphatic trousers or a roller to be very beneficial. And, weather permitting, she goes for a run barefoot on grass. 

Introductory photo - Daniel Vandas
Source: Running portal svetbehu.cz

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