Identifying big toe dysfunction is crucial for treating plantar fasciitis or heel pain!

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis or Heel Pain?

The importance of the big toe…

A major CAUSE of plantar fasciitis is biomechanical. What does this mean? It means that if you over-pronate (your feet flatten too much or at the wrong time), then this causes your foot to be unstable when you propel yourself forward while walking or running. The effect of the foot being de-stabilised when you over-pronate is that the big toe is then hypermobile and disrupts the ability of the foot to create a rigid lever in terminal stance. The truss framework of the medial longitudinal arch (the inside arch of your foot), which relies on a stable big toe,  therefore collapses and the plantar fascia becomes overloaded, over-stretched, and stressed!


If you are flat-footed- or even just pronating at the wrong part of gait— you will be a candidate for developing plantar fasciitis. And just looking at your foot in weight-bearing is not enough. Pronation, or over-pronation, is a dynamic active movement and must be assessed by carefully observing your gait pattern and by looking at the intrinsic alignment of your foot and ankle in non-weightbearing. Only then can a biomechanics expert identify if your big toe is functioning sub-optimally. And if this isn’t properly identified, it will lead to prolonged recovery, frustration with other treatments not working and missing out on the activities you love.


Thus, it is important to identify if faulty foot biomechanics are THE CAUSE of your plantar fasciitis so correct treatment can follow.


For more information, speak to our Foot & Ankle Biomechanics Physiotherapist at PhysiOptima.

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