The toe extensor stretch—a simple stretch of the toe extensor muscles and tendons—is perhaps the single most important stretch or exercise for foot health. Most conventional shoes possess about 15 to 20 degrees of toe spring, or upward toe ramping, which, along with heel elevation, creates imbalances in the flexor and extensor muscles and tendons that act on the foot. Overly tight toe extensor muscles and tendons may lead to several foot-specific health problems, including capsulitis, hammertoes, neuromas, plantar fasciosis, and plantar fibromatosis. The toe extensor stretch acts to rebalance the pull of toe flexor and extensor muscles/tendons and restore normal toe alignment.
In this video, Dr. Ray McClanahan, a sports podiatrist at Northwest Foot and Ankle and the inventor of Correct Toes, discusses how to perform this helpful stretch and offers several variations that you can perform on your own, in your own home or office.
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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.