Osteopath, Adam Robertson, shares with us how running performance can be impaired with issues arising from your big toe.
The Problem: Big toe issues
When you run you have to move your big toes. If they don’t move as they should then your running performance will suffer. Tightness in the joint of your big toe, holds your stride length back by at least a few centimeters with every step. This matters, as over a distance of 10k those few centimeters add up to a frustrating slower time.
If ignored it can lead to:
- Early stage osteoarthritis is called Hallux Limitus
- Later stage osteoarthritis is called Hallux rigidus
- Ankle issues
- Foot issues like plantarfasciatis
When you are standing can you raise your big toe independently off the ground?
If you failed the test on one or both feet then you have a tight big toe. Which is not something that can be resolved through new trainers or just ignoring it. You need to get your big toe moving!
Please note that the solution below is only appropriate for those with a high enough level of co-ordination, strength and stability. It should be stopped if pain is encountered during the exercise, and professional advice should be found.
The exercise is a variation of a squat, it is an exercise that you would find very easy to do if you lived in a society without chairs.
It has many names, Ido Portal a famous body-weight coach calls it a postural squat. But staying traditional I am going to call it a paused Hindu squat.
- Ensure that your knees track your toes.
- Allow your knees to bend
- Keep an upright torso
- Control your body on the way down
Aim to build up to 3 sets of 10 controlled repetitions. But don’t worry if you only manage 5 reps the first time you do it.