Have you ever wondered why we have one toe that is much bigger than the rest? Well, there is very good reason.
First, imagine your toes were all the same size. How would you stand or walk differently? We may be able to manage with one less of the smaller toes without having a significantly detrimental effect on our gait pattern or lower leg alignment, but the same is not true if we were to be without a big toe.
Without the big toe, movement mechanics are affected in the foot, knee, hip, pelvis, and on and on it goes right up to the neck. The big toe is the keystone to a number of spirals that trace up our body and keep us upright, aligned, and moving forward.
The important push off the big toe in walking is integral in creating a slingshot effect that occurs through the leg and hip joint that propels us forward as we walk.
And did you know that part of our gait pattern is often missing because we spend so much time with our legs in front of us, pulling us forward instead?
Imagine running or even walking without a big toe! Surely, it would be slow and probably quite painful.
One of my favorite tools to help train the integrated function of the big toe is the Pilates Reformer Jumpboard. This is a fun and valuable tool to really feel the big toe in action. Each jump is made bigger and stronger because of the push-off from the big toe.
Next time you are inclined to feel like a kid again, try jumping or skipping, and feel how the big toe pushes you off the ground.
A highly-trained movement specialist can provide valuable tips and tricks to help you improve your gait mechanics for more pain-free and easeful movement. Click HERE to learn more about ReActive Movement’s Functional Pilates and Therapeutic Exercise programs customized for your specific needs.
Holly Wallis, Certified Movement & Rehabilitation Specialist, PMA®-NCPT
Director of US Operations, Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement Institute
Studio Director, ReActive Movement, 6200 LaSalle Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
www.bodyharmonicsUS.com (Pilates Teacher Education)
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