For the big toe, degenerative change typically means stiffness or deformity like thickening or a change in alignment.  This is important in terms of your walking pattern.  Maintaining good motion at the big toe is important for balance and walking, as well as avoiding foot pain.

Toe Extension:

In this direction, your toe backbends so that you can push off when walking forward. If you choose to test your movement in this direction, make sure to keep a straight alignment at the toe…don’t let it be pointed to the side.

Be gentle. If you have lots of movement, no need to stretch. Might be more interesting to explore strength.

Toe Flexion:

This one you may not have tried. Be gentle. You can compare your right and left sides.

WARNING – If you get calf cramps, you may need to stretch those out first!

Though not as obvious in its link to the walking pattern, moving well into flexion often helps you move well into extension. Strength in this direction is very important for balance and walking.


If you’d like some exercises ideas, check out our Instagram page (Feb 9/24).