Foot and especially big toe exercises seem to be really neglected amongst recreational as well as professional athletes. Why? Because this area is far away from the »main action«. In general one could say, that people spend most time in their visual area (what you can see without moving your head). This is a concept that brings higher sales to supermarkets who put best sellers in the eye level hight and is well exploited in other industries (for example cars use head up displays). But why do you need to pay more attention to yout foot stability?
Have you ever played Jenga?
A game where the goal is to take out bricks one at the time without tearing down the whole tower. Normally players remove bricks from different sides and hights but never from the bottom. Why is that? Because the bottom part is the base of the whole tower and it also carries the most weight. Therefore it is unwise to risk the tower falling. The unstability at the top is less of a danger to the whole structure and it is the same with human body. Your feet is the only contact with the ground yet we still are not putting much effort into strength, mobility and proprioception training of the said area.
Our body is very adaptable and can mask away instabilities. Thet is why most of the common injuries can originate from feet instability and rigidity (hernia, knee and hip injuries, scoliosis etc.). The lead actor of the foot play is the big toe. It carries tremendous weight and plays a major role in our body. Same as thumb which is designed to grip and manipulate things, the big toe is resbonsible for foot stability and grip. It makes the foor arches work properly and therefore allows proper alignment of the ankle, knee, hip, spine and head. What is proper alignment exactly? When your center of gravity is right in the middle and forces on the joints are evenly distributed with as little as possible of muscle tonus.
What is proper alignment exactly?
And how does all this transfer to sports? Lets look at running. On Youtube you can find a video about comparison between Christiano Ronaldo and professional sprinter. It is quite well shown, that Ronaldo is not very ecenomic in regards of straight line running and might get tired sooner and be slower than professional sprinter. Ok, but I am not a professioanl athlete you might say. Yes but still big toe affect us all. It’s poor alignment makes your foot and ankle muscles work over time which may lead not only to hip pain while walking or ankle sprains but much more persistent problems.
But how to make sure if my big toe needs special care?
I could answer this very shortly because all feet need special care due to beautiful but disfunctional modern footwear. But still take a look at this few queations:
- Does my big toe hurt?
- Does the first joint hurt when I touch or manipulate it?
- How far towards the shin and away from it can I move my big toe with my hand (also do you experience any pain during)?
- How far away from other toes can I move my big toe with my hand (also do you experience any pain during)?
- How far towards shin and away from it can I move my big toe using only muscles?
- How far away from other toes can I move my big toe using only muscles?
- Can my big toe move while other toes remain in place?
If you are having problems during said tasks or if you are part of the endangered group such as pregnant women, you might need to start doing some foot stability and toe exercises. Whin ones you will be able to read soon in one of our upcoming blogs.
In case of any additional questions please do not hesitate to ask in the comment section or trough contact form on our website. Feel free to schedule an appointment with us in case of any pain or unresolved movement problems.
Till next time,