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Feldenkrais Method
Toe Pain, Hallux Rigidus; Turf Toe

Hallux Rigidus is a condition where the big toe becomes stiff and will not bend fully upward. When the big toe doesn't bend fully, the foot and knee angle outwards in an attempt to allow rolling over the big toe. The first strategy I would suggest is to begin gentle stretching of the toe and manual techniques to help the soft tissues around the joint. If no further range of motion can be restored then adaptations in the shoe like a metatarsal bar can help transfer the painful force off the ball of the big toe. (See HL 1)

Turf toe is a term given to a sprained big toe usually to the underside of the ball.

It can happen following a forceful push off of the foot while walking, a jump or a hard landing onto the ball of the foot. Once sprained it can easily be aggravated with an overly brisk step. It should be treated like any other injury: rest; anti-inflammatories, massage, ice initially/heat later and wear shoes with a soft insole but moderately stiff outer sole. In some cases the use of a rigid shank in the shoe can help prevent bending of the big toe. These can be obtained by a Podiatrist or Orthopodiatric fabricator. In cases of severe degeneration of the big toe, surgical fusion of the joint may provide pain relief.

The two sesamoid bones under the ball of the big toe are prone to injury and can be inflamed or even shattered during a hard landing on the balls of the feet.

These are small bones the size of sesame seeds which are imbedded in the tendons beneath the big ball. They serve to lift the tendon away from the round surface of the ball enhancing its mechanical advantage. (See HL 2)

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MovementWise Christine Inserra P.T.
Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique & Feldenkrais Method
Physical Therapy serving Chicago and the Greater Chicagoland Area