Many runners are well aware that the foot/ankle area is important for a runner. It initiates contact with the ground and is important for the launch-off phase of running/walking to set you in motion.
However, the great toe is an area that often goes unattended. Most people are aware of maintaining proper mobility through the ankle, but the role the great toe plays during the launch-off phase of running can’t be overlooked, since a lack of mobility in this area can lead to other complications. This is why great toe extension is paramount!
Check your mobility in your great toe by pulling up on the toe (foot on the ground) to see if you have any limitations. The key is to keep your other toes relaxed as there is a tendency to want to extend all the toes to gain any extra range of motion. This easy test should give you a good idea of whether or not you may need to work on regaining mobility.
Address soft tissue restrictions through the calf and also the bottom of the foot. Any increased restrictions or tightness through these areas may restrict your great toe from moving into end range extension.
PT Erson Religioso III recommends end range great toe flexion to help reset the great toe and to allow it to move into extension without trying to force that motion over and over again.
Russ Manalastas is a licensed physical therapist and clinical director for Lattimore of Spencerport Physical Therapy.
1111 W. Town and Country Rd.
Orange, CA 92868