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Big Toe, Big Deal

We walk, at least most of us do. We take thousands of steps a day. Each step put tremendous pressure on our big toe.

Problems can occur. Bunions, arthritis, gout, nail problems. For some folks, it becomes hard to put any weight at all on that toe. The joint that connects the toe to the foot (metatarsal phalangeal joint) can break down and even be surgically replaced.

And if the toe doesn’t do its normal job the rest of the foot, leg and hip suffer. So does the whole person, really.

What’s the job?

Feel under your foot. If you bend your big toe up (so your toe goes toward your knee), a line will pop up in the arch of your foot. It’s pretty big, since it carries your weight, and it helps maintain your arch and foot structure during walking and running. It’s part muscle, part ligament, part fascia. It holds your arch in shape right when the pressure is the strongest, and gives you some more spring when you step forward.

Leonardo DaVinci said “The human foot is a marvel of engineering”. He was right. And your big toe is a lever that acts to tighten the mechanism and keep the parts working together.

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November 26, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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