Do Bunions Affect Balance

Q. I have a bunion on each of my big toes. Will this affect my balance in yoga postures?

A. Yes, I’m afraid it will as your big toe helps to direct the force of the weight of your body through the surface area of the foot. When we stand it is the first 3 toes and their respective foot bones that will be taking the majority of the weight, so we want to be able to spread as much as possible through this section. When you have a bunion on one or both feet, the force that would ordinarily be spread through the surface area of this section of the foot gets pushed over to the less stable outer side of the foot meaning that you are unable to use the surface area of the big toe for the purpose of managing bodyweight. You are a toe short, although I want you to look at the size of your big toe in comparison with the next two toes and you will see that it is up to 3 times the size which means that you are actually the equivalent of 3 toes short and will inevitably struggle to balance without the aid of a wall. Remember, a wall is a prop and a useful one at that when talking of balancing postures!