Winter presents special challenges for the bunioned

As if bone-chilling winds and slippery sidewalks weren't enough, winter can present some major issues for those of us lucky enough to have bunions.

Research has suggested that exercise can ease joint pain, but a new study from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine reveals that there are far fewer opportunities to get out and get moving in the winter.

"There's more than a three-hour difference in the amount of completely sedentary time each day, where people are just sitting around doing nothing, during the months with less daylight, such as November, versus June," said Joe Feinglass, a research professor of medicine

Well, no duh, Mr. Scientist. You mean to tell me that ice and snow keep people indoors? Groundbreaking.

But he does make a good point. How's a girl supposed to keep her bunions flexible without daily walks? In the warmer months, I love to slip my orthotics into a good pair of fashionable shoes and go window shopping around the city, drooling over Manolos and Louboutins while I correct my bunions. But once there's ice on the sidewalks, I tend to stay inside watching my old Sex and the City DVDs for fear of slipping. (You already knew that bunions throw off landing mechanics, making us bunioned individuals more prone to falls, right? Good.)

Since there's not much we can do about the change in weather, let's brainstorm about how to keep toes flexible and metabolisms high during late fall and winter.

There's always yoga, which can be done in the comfort of your living room or in a toasty hot studio. (Sometimes taught by a toasty hot instructor, am I right?) Moreover, certain yoga poses my help reduce the severity of bunions because they promote flexibility. Conversely, they can also be a challenge due to the bony deformity, but this is where a good instructor comes in handy.

You can always join a gym, too. In addition to being an ice-free place to exercise, gyms are a great place to meet people as well as receive personalized instruction from trainers.

Of course, if you're like me, being in the vicinity of a crowd of sweaty strangers is not very appealing. This is where your local mall comes in. Take a cue from neighborhood seniors and start mall walking. You can even squeeze in some shoe shopping if the urge strikes.
 

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