A fundamental feature of the foot is first-toe mobility, specifically the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. The first MTP joint should be able to extend as much as 65 degrees, but many people lack full range of motion due to osteoarthritis or injury (Image 1). Limited MTP dorsiflexion may not stop you from running around, but the lack of big-toe mobility means the body is forced to compensate further up the kinetic chain. By altering the foot’s natural movement patterns, limited MTP dorsiflexion can lead to “mysterious” knee or hip pain and an unstable gait.
Myoskeletal Therapy employs low-force stretching maneuvers to reduce symptoms and improve MTP joint function. We’re encouraging the body to move rather than forcing it to do so, as forcing movement causes the brain to layer the area with protective muscle guarding. Along with manual treatments to improve MTP mobility, it’s essential to do self-care exercises to help maintain the gains and further increase first-toe range of motion.
Perform playful exercises, such as bouncing on a mini trampoline, hiking, and ankle rocking. The act of rocking in all directions with the feet dorsiflexed is one of the best and easiest ways to fully restore function of the feet, ankles, knees and hips synchronously — the way they’re designed to work.
Courtesy of and adapted from https://erikdalton.com/blog/big-toe-kink-in-the-kinetic-chain/