Understand factors that can affect how you walk and move
It is unbelievable that a small joint, at the very tip of the foot can influence so much of your movement and gait pattern. Today we investigate the influence of big toe joint pain or movement restrictions on your body.
The first area of concern is pain on or near your big toe joint, also called your 1st metatarsal phalangeal joint. If you are experiencing pain in your toe when you are walking then the video above will show you how to investigate the movement at this joint. It is crucial to understand how your big toe joint moves as this could be directly related to your current pain, or certainly influence the movement around your foot and ankle which in turn can create stress in local areas.
Essentially your big toe joint can get stiff and your body will compensate around the restriction to allow you to function. This will then transfer load to other tissues or joints and can create stress that you will experience as pain. The key is to understand if your joint is truly blocked and restricted or if your myofascial (muscles, fascia and tendons) are tight which is blocking the normal movement in your big toe when you are walking, running or moving. Finally your restriction could be related to your lower limb biomechanics, thinking of areas such as hip control, collapsing arches in your foot or rotation through your lower leg. All these areas can influence your big toe function and influence your loading of tissues that may lead to pain or injury.
- The joint is stiff influencing your movement patterns
- The muscles and fascia are tight creating the impression the joint is stiff in function
- Your biomechanics in the leg are influencing your functional movement in your big toe
Common injuries that can be related to a restriction of the big toe, or 1st MTF, joint are;
- Plantar Fasciitis – a common issue underneath the foot that tends to emerge more as we move to sandals and flip flops in the summer
- 2nd or 3rd Toe Joint Pain – as we transfer weight across the foot due to the tight big toe, function is everything
- Tendinopathies – such as tibialis posterior (long tendon on the inside of the ankle) due to excessive loading and stress
- Hip Issues – as we try to find new methods to extend the leg as we walk, particularly translation issues at the hip
- Back Problems – again excessive loading of the low back into extension as our body searches for a way to move around the restriction
Start to unlock the reason behind your movement and you can retrain the body to move better, creating movement health and reducing stress on tissues around your foot and ankle or higher up your leg or into your back. The body is a big jigsaw puzzle that needs decoding so you can achieve the best possible results. The aim is to reduce injury risk, remove your pain and allow you to continue with the activities, sports and hobbies you enjoy the most. It might just be that your big toe joint is the key to unlocking your current issues.