Bunions, Post Op Bunionectomy

Christine Kearney, DPT Counterstrain Portland
Portland, Oregon


A bunion (hallux valgus) is a deformity of the big toe that leads to loss of normal range of motion and increased swelling. It can make walking or running very painful. The first sign is often a bump on the inside of the big toe that may be swollen, red, and tender. Symptoms may include pain, inflammation, burning sensation, numbness, and restricted motion in the big toe. Tight shoes, posture, inflammatory diseases, and congenital structural problems (flat feet) contribute to the development of bunions. When treating bunions, it is important to address all of these factors. For example, assessment of posture will indicate if there are other regions that are the primary cause for the bunion. Poor posture with the feet and knees rolling inwards will stress the big toe pushing it outwards stressing the fascia of the foot. This will lead to strain of structures such as ligaments, bones, lymphatic venous structures, arteries and nerves. Bone dysfunctions in the foot or leg will create irregular muscle tension thereby affecting proper recruitment of muscles, such as the the calf and intrinsic muscles of the foot. This is why it is so important to use a multi-system technique such as Fascial Counterstrain to treat bunions. There are times when surgery is indicated and a bunionectomy is performed. During a bunioectomy the bone may be cut, ligaments shortened or lengthened, or the joint fused. Surgery will lead to scar adhesions that affect fascial tension throughout the body. At times Fascial Counterstrain can reduce symptoms and improve alignment of the joint so you can avoid surgery. Even after a bunionectomy Fascial Counterstrain can be very helpful to restore motion and decrease pain while preventing recurrence of the bunion.

Fascial Counterstrain Treatment

Fascia is the deep connective tissue found everywhere in the body. Fascia is in our arteries, veins, nerves, viscera (digestive system, lungs and heart), ligaments, muscles and bones. Fascial Counterstrain uses a combination of gentle tissue glides and comfortable positioning guided by a system of tender points to drain swelling and improve the mobility of tissues. Fascial Counterstrain utilizes a cranial scan to determine which system of the body is the main driver of your condition. During your initial visit, your practitioner will perform a thorough evaluation: cranial scan, postural assessment, motion testing, and gait assessment in order to identify the area of restrictions and key lesions. When you have a bunion there are often bony fascial dysfunctions causing poor positioning of the foot and leg. There can also be decreased venous and lymphatic drainage or poor arterial blood flow which inhibits healing of the inevitable stresses of daily standing and walking. Excessive nerve tension can also cause abnormal foot posture and loading contributing to bunion formation and pain. In the Fascial Counterstrain System we find a frequent connection between toe and foot problems and dysfunction in the tailbone (coccyx). Using the diagnostic tools described above we will assess your entire body to understand why your bunion has formed and then help correct those dysfunctions. Addressing fascial dysfunction across multiple body systems we facilitate drainage, increase blood flood, decrease neural tension, improve bony alignment of the joint which will optimize the environment for healing.