Big toe? What’s the big deal?

Hey there, fellow fitness enthusiasts! Today, we’re going to talk about the importance of having adequate extension of the big toe.

Yeah, you read that right, we’re talking about the big toe – the often forgotten and neglected digit of our feet. But trust me, this tiny little guy plays a big role in our overall body mechanics and can have serious implications if neglected.

First things first, let’s talk about what we mean by “adequate extension of the big toe.” When we say extension, we mean the ability of the toe to move upward, away from the sole of the foot. This movement is crucial in the push-off phase of walking and running, and it’s what helps us generate power and propulsion. Without adequate extension, we’re forced to compensate with other parts of our body, which can lead to a whole host of problems.

One of the most common issues that arise from a lack of big toe extension is knee pain. When we can’t generate enough power through our feet, our knees end up bearing the brunt of the load. This can lead to patellofemoral pain syndrome, IT band syndrome, and even ACL injuries. Not fun.

But that’s not all – a lack of big toe extension can also cause problems further up the chain. Hip pain, lower back pain, and even shoulder pain can all be traced back to poor foot mechanics. It’s all connected, folks!

So, what can we do about it? Luckily, there are plenty of exercises we can perform to improve our big toe extension and prevent these issues from cropping up. Here are a few of my favourites:

  1. Toe curls: Sit on the floor with a towel laid out in front of you. Place your feet on the towel and scrunch your toes to pull the towel towards you. Repeat for 3 sets of 10.
  2. Toe extensions: Sit on a chair and place a rubber band around your big toes. Spread your toes apart against the resistance of the band. Repeat for 3 sets of 10.
  3. Toe yoga: Yes, you read that right. Sit cross-legged and interlace your fingers between your toes. Gently stretch your toes in all directions, holding each stretch for a few seconds.

Incorporating these exercises into your routine can go a long way in improving your big toe extension and preventing pain and injury. So don’t forget about your little piggies – they’re more important than you might think!

Want a head start before coming in for some help? Check out one of our video’s here with some great beginner exercises.

Written by Nick Dimakis (Chiropractor)