by Julie Donnelly – The Pain Relief Expert
I moderate several online forums and today a runner posted a message about pain in his big toe joint. He only feels the pain when he curls his toes down. He had been to the foot doctor, who couldn’t understand why it only hurt on the downward curl and not when he lifted his big toe up off the floor. He did some internet research (which led him to one of the forums I moderate) and decided that the problem was coming from a muscle called extensor hallicus longus.
Here’s the response I gave him, I thought it might be helpful to anyone who is experiencing pain in big toe joint, or other foot pains:
“Well, I think that your research has given you the answer, I agree that the problem is coming from the extensor hallucis longus. The reason you have pain when you curl your toes down is because this muscle contracts to pick up your big toe joint and when it is in spasm it can’t stretch enough to allow you to curl your toes down.
Every time you plant your foot to push off for the next running step you are needing to slightly stretch the extensor hallicus longus. The tension the tight muscle is placing on your toe is causing a strain, and therefore causing pain in your big toe joint.
Fortunately it is easy to self-treat for pain in your big toe joint, and the bonus is you’ll also be treating the muscles that will cause plantar fasciitis and other ankle/foot problems. You can learn how to do all the self-treatments that are great for runners by reading The Pain-Free Runner.
Wishing you well,