Big toe trouble

edited October 2012 in Running Injuries
I've had limited range of motion of my right big toe (functional hallux-limitus) for 10 years now. Over the past 3 years I've transitioned out of orthotics and motion control shoes into more minimal footwear (from Free to Kinvara now in Go Bionic and Skora Base) as well as huge improvements in gait - cadence, posture, foot-strike etc.

My toe points inwards but is great, no pain stronger than its ever been.... however the lack of ability to 'toe off' is beginning to lead to achilles, hip and lower back pain whenever I increase speed or mileage. I've seen a bunch of people who tend to treat the symptoms not the what I think the main issue is. I've had my form analysed and I definitely struggle to toe off on my right foot though it improves with less shoe but not quite enough.

Anyone else had/have this issue? I'm thinking about trying a wedge under the toe to pre-load it abit more.  


  • Do you have uneven wear patterns under the forefoot? I'd guess maybe the wear is offset a bit more laterally in the foot with the less flexible toe. Jay Dicharry writes a lot about big toe mobility in his book (Anatomy for Runners). Basically says that if you can't roll over the big toe, motion has to come from somewhere else in the chain, and that can lead to problems. I suppose a wedge might be worth a shot. Perhaps a shoe with a bit of rocker to the sole like the Skechers GoRun or one of the Scott shoes?
  • Thanks, I've ordered Jay's book, shame it isn't in kindle form!
  • A few people have recommended shoes with more rocker like the GoRun and Hoka One One Stinson Evo. Any views on the Hoka's? 
  • I've never had it diagnosed, but I've noticed that my left foot bears the signs of Rothbart's Foot, where my first metatarsal doesn't bear weight well and in fact feels a little elevated.  Not sure if the solutions for it are the same as yours, but I'm curious, especially as I've had more and more injuries that I can't help but wonder are born from years of compensating for it.

  • From what I've read, any issues with the foot's ability to 'toe off' usually lead (as Runblogger states) to problems further up the chain as the leg struggles to compensate. My toe/forefoot is fine but lately I've had heel, achilles, lower back and now knee pain all of which can be symptoms of great toe/metatarsal issues.

    Most advice to deal with this is around foot & lower leg strengthening - balance board, standing on one leg, toe manipulation, calf raises etc. The rest point to orthotic's which I'm not keen to go near. Not much on shoe selection...

  • Hokas are worth a shot - I have a buddy who has found that they are the only shoe he can run in without aggravating his plantar fasciitis:
  • Thanks, Nate's review was one of the reasons I started looking at the Hoka's. There's a lot of feedback about how they got people thru injuries...might have to get a pair and put up with the clown shoe jokes!

  • I have hullux limitus (right big toe) that became painful enough that it was beginning to take a real toll on my running. I was precribed custom orthodics, but the orthodics didn't work well for me. I tried a variety of shoes, but none of them seemed to help until I got a pair of Hokas. I've been running in the Hokas for about a week now and it's been wonderful; I've had runs as long as 12 miles and I've experienced very little toe pain. 
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