I notice I'm starting to get what looks like a bunion. Are there any exercises I can do to keep this from getting worse?

Yes, exercises and the right kind of shoe can make a difference. Let's talk about shoe wear first. Try to avoid a narrow toe in a shoe. This just pushes the toes together and forces the joint into a position that's prime for a bunion. If you're a woman, avoid high heels, which have the same effect only worse because they jam the foot even further down into the narrow space.

Shoes with a deep and wide box, sandals, or even going barefoot can make a difference. If a woman must wear heels then select a shoe with a round toe and low heel. Walking shoes, sports shoes, or tennis shoes should also be purchased with an eye to the size and shape of the toe box.

Some doctors advise passive exercises to help stretch the great toe. The affected individual pulls the big toe away from the second toe and holds it for four seconds. A second exercise is to pull the toe up off the floor and hold it for four seconds. Both of these exercises must be done every day for six weeks to see a difference. Ten to 15 repetitions are advised, twice daily.