Big Toe Mobility
The Importance of Big Toe Mobility
Big toe mobility, especially big toe dorsiflexion, is one of the most underrated necessities for proper function when walking. On average, we need about 𝟒𝟎-𝟓𝟓 𝐝𝐞𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐬 of dorsiflexion to adequately transfer energy during the push off or toe off portion of the gait cycle. We need even more (~65 degrees for running).
Those that are limited can be grouped as Hallux Limitus or Hallux Rigidus. The latter is more of a severe progression that has involved significant arthritic change and bone fusing (not really treatable). Limitus, on the other hand, can be improved with a combination of manual therapy and exercise. Problems with big toe mobility can be a main source of foot and ankle pain.
- We love situations where the assessment becomes the exercise. The 𝐓𝐨𝐞 𝐒𝐢𝐭 is a simple way to work on the mobility of your toes!
- Perform the Toe Sit by bringing the toes underneath of you as you gradually sit backwards. The bottom of the feet and toes should be contacting the ground.
How To Improve Big Toe Mobility
𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐫:
- Is there pain?
- Is there limitation?
- Do both sides feel equal?
-Feeling pulling/stretching along the bottom of the foot and into the heel and calf is ok.
-Pinching, jamming, or sharp pain in the joint (especially the big toe) is not ideal.
-Work on one foot at a time if need be. Learn to hold the position for a handful of minutes at a time.
Big Toe Mobility and Ankle Dorsiflexion?
Those that have issues with big toe dorsiflexion will need MORE ankle dorsiflexion to help maintain foot and ankle mobility. Check out our Youtube playlist on all things related to the foot and ankle.