In this video, Dr. Ray McClanahan, a sports podiatrist at Northwest Foot and Ankle and the inventor of Correct Toes, dives deep into the condition called hallux limitus. Hallux limitus is a condition in which the big toe is unable to bend upward (or dorsiflex) to a proper degree. This foot health problem begins early in life in those who wear conventional footwear. Tapering toe boxes and other injurious shoe design elements force the sesamoid bones (located beneath the big toe) out of place, which ultimately limits big toe dorsiflexion. Bone growth may then occur on top of the first metatarsal bone, along with cartilage loss. In some cases, the hallux limitus condition progresses to hallux rigidus, where the big toe cannot bend upward to any degree.
Conventional treatment of hallux limitus usually involves a variety of orthotic devices and surgery to remove bone growth in the affected area. Natural, conservative care involves adopting foot-shaped footwear and using Correct Toes to help realign the sesamoid bones to the position that nature intended. Other helpful approaches to improve big toe mobility and flexibility include the Toe Extensor Stretch, the Big Toe Stretch, and big toe traction.
Note: If there is no mobility left in the toe (i.e., hallux rigidus), it's likely that natural approaches will not be effective and that surgical correction will be required.
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Dr. Marty Hughes is a chiropractic physician, or DC. He received his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College (WSCC), now known as the University of Western States (UWS). Dr. Marty has always been interested in foot health, due to the connection between the feet and the spine. He has worked as a freelance writer for LiveStrong.com, for whom he contributed over 2,200 health-and-fitness articles. He is a co-founder of Natural Footgear and an ardent supporter of natural foot care approaches. Dr. Marty enjoys road cycling, hiking, canoeing, and cross-country skiing as well as exploring the mountains of Western North Carolina.