By Shane Recer, DPT, CSCS, Clinic Manager
ApexNetwork Physical Therapy – Granite City, IL

Over 20% of the adult population experiences foot pain on a weekly basis that limits their ability to perform daily functions.

Unfortunately, there are numerous conditions that may affect our feet and the ability to walk or run pain-free. When examining the foot, physical therapists will often start at the toes and work up to the ankle to identify impairments.

There is something you can do right now at home. Grab a dress shoe and look at the crease along with the toe box. If it’s not noticeable right away, put the shoe on and raise your heel. Does your crease go straight across? Or is it diagonal? If it’s the latter, you may have hallux limitus or even hallux rigidus; both being conditions that affect the big toe and limit your movement.

It may not seem important, but your first toe and the ability to move it are vital to a normal gait cycle. For instance, 119% of your body force is transmitted through your first toe. If your toe is painful or doesn’t move all the way, altered walking mechanics are almost certain to occur. This small change at the toe may affect joints higher in the kinetic chain, including your ankle, knee, hip or even back.

If you’re experiencing pain in your back or lower extremity, consider checking your footwear or call your local ApexNetwork Physical Therapist.


Fields, KB.  Evaluation and diagnosis of common causes of foot pain in adults

Lucas, DE. Hunt, KJ. Hallux Rigidus: Relevant Anatomy and Pathophysiology.