Educational Articles

Toe Extensor Stretch

Posted By Marty Hughes, DC

Disclaimer:

The above content is for educational or informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or augment professional medical instruction, diagnosis, or treatment. Read full disclaimer here.

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Comments
April 22, 2015
Mitch

Great video. I really enjoy this stretch. It helps with relieving tension and is increasing the flexibility in my hammertoes. The foot doctor said my toes will never be straight without surgery, but some doctors also stated that people would never walk again. Thanks for the education and resources. This information makes good sense.

April 22, 2015
Natural Footgear

Hi, Mitch,

Thank you for your comment! I’m very pleased that you enjoyed the video and have found the Toe Extensor Stretch to be beneficial. It’s a good one. In terms of sharing educational materials and resources, it’s totally our pleasure! Please do let us know if you have any other thoughts or questions.

Kind regards,
Marty Hughes, DC

April 22, 2015
Mitch

I’m in law enforcement and decided I’d give this barefoot stuff a try. I’ve been suffering from ball of foot pain as a result of my hammertoes and long hours of walking on concrete floors. Initially I was sold on all extra cushion, shock absorbing material, and supports. But after coming into contact with Correct Toes and the common sense surrounding natural foot health, I decided to buy a pair of belleville mini-mil boots. I love them for how they make my feet feel. After wearing them for some time I decided to put on my Matterhorns because we had gotten about 10 inches of snow. I walked to the car and I immediately began to feel my foot pain intensify. By the time I got back to the house I had a slight limp in my gait due to pain/discomfort.

Now I am waiting on the Lems Nine2five in black. If I can help it, I’m never going back to toe spring, metallic shank, high heel, support boasting, pointed toe boots or shoes for the rest of my life. At 32 years old I can really appreciate natural, healthy feet.

April 22, 2015
Natural Footgear

Hi, Mitch,

Thank you for your excellent comment. We support you in your decision to avoid conventional footwear, with all its many injurious design features. I really appreciate your journey toward optimal foot and toe health, and I wish you all the best with your foot rehabilitation.

The Lems Nine2five in black is now available on the Natural Footgear site:

www.naturalfootgear.com/collections/mens-shoes/products/lems-nine2five-black

Cheers!
Marty Hughes, DC

December 15, 2016
Tessa

I’ve been doing this stretch every day to help heal my neuroma and capsulitis—yes I have both. My question is how often should I be doing the stretch? Once a day? Several times a day? Thanks for your input.

Also, before learning about this stretch and how often the nerves on the bottom of the foot are stretched because of inappropriate footwear I was doing the opposite stretch, where I was stretching my toes upward. Now I’m afraid to do that stretch because I don’t want to lengthen anything more than it already is. Am I correct in this? Even when I squat down to get stuff out of the washer I don’t want my toes to flex upward because I’m trying to reverse so many problems and pain. I’d appreciate input on this as well. Thanks so much.

December 15, 2016
Natural Footgear

Greetings, Tessa!

Thank you for your comment and questions. In our experience, we’ve found it best to perform the Toe Extensor Stretch at least several times per day, holding the stretch for at least 30 seconds to really relax those tight toe extensors.

In general, we have not found the reverse stretch to be necessary or helpful, as almost everyone has tight toe extensors, not toe flexors (i.e., the toe flexors are already stretched beyond ideal length in most shoe-wearing people). That being said, I don’t think you should avoid your activities of daily living that involve stretching your toe flexors. These movements are natural, temporary, and should not necessarily impact your foot health in a negative way.

Foot-healthy footwear, toe spacers, metatarsal pads, and key foot exercises, including the Toe Extensor Stretch, are what we have historically found to provide lasting results for folks with neuromas and capsulitis. If you have any questions about any of the above, please feel free to reach out to us!

Kind regards,
Marty Hughes, DC

December 15, 2016
Daddy

Wonderful video by Dr. Ray! Very clear instructions and video illustrations.

December 15, 2016
Natural Footgear

Hi, Daddy,

Thank you for your kind comment! We love the video and the stretch too!

Love,
Robyn Hughes, ND

March 30, 2018
Jennifer

My husband suffers from “second toe capsulitis.” He was prescribed off-loading metatarsal inserts. These do not seem to be helping. What is the best shoe (type and brand)? The lady who fitted his inserts said he needs a deeper shoe. He is currently in a Hoka running shoe and works on his feet all day. Any advice would be helpful!

March 30, 2018
Natural Footgear

Hi, Jennifer,

Thank you for your comment. We’re sorry to hear that your husband is dealing with capsulitis.

In our experience, we’ve found that conventional footwear with tapering toe boxes, toe spring, heel elevation, rigid soles, and built-in artificial arch props tend to have a direct effect on the condition. Because an excess amount of pressure is put on the MTP joint, and because the second metatarsal is the longest in the foot, conventional footwear can cause significant pain and inflammation in this joint capsule.

All of the shoes we offer on our site allow the foot to act like a barefoot inside of the shoe. Along with wearing Correct Toes toe spacers, we’ve found that switching to more foot-healthy footwear is an important step in restoring proper balance and alignment within the foot. You can find a link to our men’s footwear options here:

www.naturalfootgear.com/collections/mens-shoes

And here’s a link to our Correct Toes offerings:

www.naturalfootgear.com/collections/correct-toes

I’ve also included a couple of links below to articles that pertain directly to capsulitis:

www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17860972-capsulitis
www.naturalfootgear.com/blogs/education/17853268-ball-of-foot-pain-conventional-vs-natural-approaches

I hope this information helps. If you or your husband have any questions moving forward, please do let us know!

Kind Regards,
Andrew Potter

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