Due to constant enclosure within shoes as well as the proliferance of smooth, flat surfaces, most people hardly use their toes anymore. Toes do have a number of important responsibilities to fulfill, however. They serve as messengers to the brain, for example, constantly sending reports about the terrain under them “on the ground”. They also assist in fine tuning the balance and support of the body.
Despite their small size, toes can be a great source of discomfort if structural deviations should start to develop anywhere throughout the body.
In light of the fact that the toes are at the end of the biomechanical chain of command, restoring toe function and eliminating toe discomforts requires that structural alignment first be restored higher up at the feet, knees, and hips. Once the rest of the body is brought into alignment, the toes will respond rapidly to structural realignment training.
Besides the wearing of inordinately tight shoes, one of the main causes of bunions is improper foot placement during walking. Proper foot placement requires that heel strike
takes place in the middle and back of the heal, with the body’s weight rolling lengthwise along the foot onto the balls of the foot and straight out through the toes.
For the majority of bunion sufferers, the legs and feet flare outward in relation to the body rather than forward. Such foot placement causes heal strike to take place on the back, outer edge of the heel, with the body’s weight rolling diagonally across the foot and toes. Such a diagonal foot placement places particularly great inward pressure upon the outer edge of the big toe, causing the permanent inward positioning of the big toe.
The development of hammertoes is the body’s response mechanism to weakened musculature around the pelvis failing to maintain the hips within the gravitional line of the head and feet. As the body’s center of gravity becomes located ever more forward over the feet, the toes become increasingly called upon to keep the body from falling forward. The classic hooked appearance of hammertoes is a result of their constantly having to clutch the ground in a desperate attempt to provide counter balance to the hips.