Why Your Big Toe is Causing You More Than Just Foot Problems

Posted by Dr. Jeffrey L. Adler

Jul 27, 2016 1:19:26 PM

turf_toe_foot_problemHave you heard of turf toe? Although common among those who play football, baseball, soccer, and basketball; as well as dancers, gymnastics and wrestlers, you don’t have to be an athlete to experience this foot problem. Turf toe occurs when there is a sprain of the ligaments around the big toe joint. When you’re walking or running, your body weight comes forward onto your foot, starting at the heel, then moving to the ball of the foot, and finally you propel yourself forward by pushing off of your big toe as your weight shifts to the other foot. Learn how turf toe can affect pain in other areas of your body in the excerpt below, and a treatment option that can help.


Posted by: Aetrex – Footprints Health & Wellness Blog

Knee and Hip Pain? Your Big Toe Could Be to Blame

As weight is transferred from the heel to the front of the foot, the big toe acts as a lever to allow the foot to push off the ground. An injury to the big toe can alter the entire mechanics of the leg; other muscles will compensate for the toe, which can lead to injuries in your feet, ankles, knees, and hips.

In an ideal world, you use your entire foot when pushing off. Take a look at your feet. Where are your calluses? The location of your calluses will tell you exactly how you use your foot now. If you looked at the feet of one of the most explosive players in basketball, you would see callouses spread out equally throughout all five metatarsal heads (located in your fore foot).

With turf toe clients, I typically see callouses on the medial side (the arch side) of their first MTP joint and big toe, which indicates improper push-off and an excessive rotation force on the first MTP. What this means is the foot is lacking the necessary mobility through the joints. Because of the decreased movement, a turf-toe client is forced to push off through the outside of the foot, causing an excessive amount of rotational force. Over time, this leads to the overextension and sprain of the big toe joint.

In my clinical practice, I’ve found that improper body alignment is the main culprit of turf toe. Pushing off requires the entire posterior chain — the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and foot muscles — to fire, and the opposite anterior chain to counterbalance that force. Improper alignment, like a forward pelvic tilt, can prevent your posterior chain from working properly and sends too much force through your toe.

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Turf toe and other foot problems are often the result of foot misalignment, which causes misalignment in your body and a painful chain reaction in your knees, hips, back, and neck. If your feet are misaligned, this will turn the knees and hips inward, tilting the pelvis and ultimately causing the spine to become curved and put pressure in places where it shouldn’t be.

Foot misalignment occurs when the ankle bone slips off the heel bone, causing an excessive inward rotation of the ankle and outward rotation of the foot. To correct misalignment in your feet and body, there is a procedure called HyProCure® that places a titanium stent into the naturally occurring space between the ankle and heel bone (called the sinus tarsi), stabilizing the ankle and correcting the excessive inward rotation. Once your feet are aligned, your body will be aligned too, correcting common foot problems as well as pain in other areas of your body.

If you’d like to learn more, contact the best podiatrists in NYC at Adler Footcare for a free assessment. We believe feet should hurt and neither should their treatment.

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Topics: foot problems, HyProCure, Body Pain