The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Running With Bunions- Getting Back on Track

Posted by on Monday, August 5th, 2013


A bunion may seem like a deal-breaker for an avid runner; but in reality, there are plenty of people out there running with bunions on their feet! In fact, we recently received a letter from a 61-year-old with large bunions who would like to start running her usual 10 miles per week again. She wondered how long it would take her to get back to her routine and what she should do if she starts experiencing bunion pain. Whether you’re hoping to win that half-marathon or just trying to stay in shape, there is no reason why feet bunions should hold you back.

Bunion Running: How To Minimize Bunion Pain

Writing for the UK Guardian, Lucy Markovitch shares her best advice about running with bunions. “My three-word mantra to anyone running with a bunion would be: shoes, socks, yoga,” she writes. Runners with bunions often overpronate, so it’s important to visit a podiatrist to have your feet assessed and find the right shoe that is wide and stable enough to support your feet as you run. One of the shoes the writer recommends is the Saucony Omni, which saw her through two marathons and a handful of 10-Ks. For socks, she recommends Groundhog socks, which are thin, light and anti-blister. Lastly, she says that yoga is helpful in improving her posture and improving flexibility.

Shoes For The Bunion Runner

Here are a few added tips for bunion shoe choice:

  • Look for shoes with wide toe boxes. (Ex: Saucony, Asics, Mizuno and Brooks shoes)
  • Find mesh or soft upper fabric that can stretch.
  • Opt for a men’s shoe, even if you’re a woman to find the added width.
  • Go up half a size (as long as you’re not more than a thumbnail’s length from the toe).
  • Look for roundness and toe depth, as well as width.
  • Get a shoe with foam cushioning.


Deciding When To Get The Bunionectomy Surgery

Many runners wonder if they should continue running with feet bunions or if they should get the bunionectomy surgery out of the way now. While technology has come a long way, bunionectomy can still be a big ordeal. The surgery involves sawing away bone in most cases and sometimes requires the use of surgical screws and plates to hold the foot in proper alignment. Recovery takes about six to eight weeks in most cases. While you will be able to go back to work, you will need to take some time off your running routine.

‘The operation was very painful,” Olympic runner Paula Radcliffe explains, “but I’d recommend it to anyone who suffers. It’s made such a big difference to my life.” Paula said she tried to put off the surgery as long as she could stand it, but eventually elected to have it done when the bunion began affecting how she trained and the bunion pain made it difficult for her to walk.

Every body is different, but in Paula’s case, she spent three weeks on crutches, followed by two weeks of wearing a special protective shoe. She rehabilitated in a swimming pool and was able to run on a treadmill seven weeks after her surgery. By nine weeks, she was training outdoors and she won the New York half-marathon last August, six months after her bunion surgery.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.