A toe injury sounds trivial; a minor inconvenience for a professional athlete. However, the league’s top receiver and one of its top rushers are both being slowed by problematic toes. Like the gears in a car engine, the toes optimize performance and allow efficient, explosive movement. The toes contribute to weight-bearing, balance, and fluidity while walking and even more so in running. The toes help initiate acceleration by extending the lever arm of the foot. As a result, the multilayered intrinsic muscles of the foot and toes are active throughout the weight-bearing phase. The big toe is particularly important here as it is assumes high amounts of force. Some studies show that the big toe takes on more than 70 percent of a running individual’s body weight.
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