Bunions are a dreaded foot condition for most of the people. They have the potential to cause so much pain that you may end up taking steroid injections. If you love running and you have this condition…should you give up?  Have you often wondered, “Does Running Make Bunions Worse?” Let’s get straight to the heart of the question…

Why does running make bunions worse? Here is the reason. If you are planning to run with bunions then know this first. Because most of the time, running and bunions don't gel well.

Why does running make bunions worse? Here is the reason. If you are planning to run with bunions then know this first. Because most of the time, running and bunions don’t gel well.

Does Running Make Bunions Worse?

The bad news is, running does make bunions worse or at least have the potential to do so. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. With some simple precautions, you will be able to avoid this almost completely.

Why Does Running Make Bunions Worse?

Before understanding why running makes bunions worse, let’s understand what is a bunion and how is it formed.

Bunions are a bone deformity that happens at the base of the big toe. It gets aggravated when you put too much stress on the forefoot.

Many times this condition is inherited. So, if your Mother or Father has bunions, chances are you may also develop it at some stage of your life.



  • You have inherited it from your parents
  • You have suffered some foot injuries where you broke your toe
  • You have a faulty bone structure by birth.
Running puts a lot of stress on your forefoot. Each time your feet touch the ground or lift up, you will be using your forefoot invariably.

So, this will put a lot of stress on your foot

Also, running shoes are completely closed.

If they are narrow, then the wall of the shoe will constantly rub against the side of the feet.

This also puts some additional pressure on the big toe joint from the side.

Combining these two, you have a perfect situation where your bunions may get aggravated.

Should you stop running?

Absolutely NOT!

I know it is hard to digest that you can still run.

However, with some simple precautions, you will be able to get past these situations.

You must run if you love to do it.

Also, you can do this until the pain is unbearable.

When Should You Stop Running?

First of all, stopping your run is not needed in most cases.

You just need to take some precautions.

However, if the pain is too much to bear then you should stop.

You should also stop if you see signs of aggravation.

In this case, you need to investigate, what is causing the aggravation before resuming your training.

Other than these two reasons, you need not stop.

Precautions for running

The most important thing in stopping your bunion from aggravating is, to reduce the amount of pressure you are putting on it.

For that you need to do the following things:

1. Change your running shoes – Bunions require a wider and stabler shoe.

So, if your shoe is not 2E or 4E, your best bet will be to change it.

This will stop the shoe from putting so much pressure on bunions.

We like the wide variety of Saucony Omni 16 and Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20.

Also, the Altra Escalante is a good choice for bunions

2. Use a protective pad under the shoe – Since you are upgrading your shoe, it will be wide enough to accommodate a protective pad.

Protective pads like NatraCure Gel Big Toe Bunion Guard are generally made up of silicone gel or moleskin.

This acts as a soothing layer on your bunions and will reduce any kind of friction on it.

These are some basics.

Here is a complete list of 9 tips for running with bunions

Be sure to check it out as it has very useful information on bunions and how to prevent the aggravation.

What should you do if your bunion hurts while running?

Firstly, if it is hurting that means there is some problem or you are not taking enough precautions.

Stop immediately.

If needed, stop running for a couple of days till the pain is gone completely.

Next, you need to investigate what is causing your bunions to revolt.

Find out if any of this is true:

  • You are standing on your feet for a long period of time than usual and in a closed shoe
  • Your shoes are narrow
  • You are not getting enough stability from your shoe
  • You are not using the “Bunion Step-Over” lacing technique
  • Either you are not using any protective pads or the protective pads are thin
  • You need to use bunion braces during the night or throughout the day
  • You are not doing any kind of foot exercises
  • You need to consult a Podiatrist

Will Surgery help me in running better?

I don’t like to use tools on my body until and unless it is an emergency.

In most cases, the bunion is not an emergency condition and the surgery is invasive.

The satisfaction level of the patients after surgery also varies.

So yes, it may help you run better, but the recovery time is usually long

Hence, I would suggest that, if your condition is not unbearable, don’t opt for surgery.

However, this decision is completely up to you and whatever you decide, do it after consulting your Podiatrist 


Running with bunions need not be a bad experience for you.

Surely it makes things a little tricky.

But if you follow the precautions properly, your bunions will not get worsened from the stress of running.

So, go ahead and plan your next run.

And don’t worry, your bunions will be all fine

Are you a Runner with Bunions? Share your story to encourage and motivate our other readers.

Madhusree Basu

Madhusree Basu

Author, Admin

Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.

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