When thinking about the various body parts, the importance of our feet can sometimes overshadow that of our toes. But do you know how important your toes are? Especially your big toes! How much will that affect your balance if your big toe is missing or becomes dysfunctional?
Your big toes are the most important of all. They maintain your balance and provide you with arch support and foot stability. Big toes help in maintaining your static and dynamic balance.
They also play a significant role in shock absorption and propulsion. Additionally, your big toes bear most of your body weight. In fact, their weight-bearing capacity is almost double that of your other toes combined.
Your toes have great capabilities. Although they cannot grip or hold well, they play a crucial role in your day-to-day life and chores. So let’s discuss the importance of toes before determining which is the most important.
Importance Of Toes
You may not value your feet as much as they deserve because they are always on the ground and sometimes are dirty or stinky. They may seem useless, but you should be thankful for your feet and toes. Your foot is the most stressed yet the most neglected body part.
Your toes also have excellent capabilities. Although they cannot grip or hold, they play a crucial role in your day-to-day life and chores.
Toes provide great support and help you balance while standing, walking, or running. Almost 75 percent of the time, your toes remain on the ground as you walk. This is because they constantly exert pressure to help you walk.
Your toes help to support your body weight while you run. Your toes can also help you run faster because they extend the length of your foot. The extra length makes you run faster.
Your big toe is the most important. It helps you maintain balance and bear your body weight. However, your pinky toe is the least important. Those born without pinky toes or who have lost them in an accident will certainly experience very little change in their activities.
Why Do We Have Toes?
Probably everyone knows the importance of feet but do you know your toes are equally important? Perhaps you don’t realize how much they do for you.
Your toes help you balance. You can see it for yourself if you want. Stand on one foot while keeping your toes off the ground. After a few moments, allow your toes to touch the ground. You will feel the difference in balancing your body with and without toes. Balancing your body on one foot with your toes is much easier.
Another good thing your toes do for you is push you forward while walking and running. They provide you with the necessary push to take steps.
You’ll need short, stiff boards if you want to try this. Strap them under your feet’s bottom and walk around. You will feel like you can’t go very fast since your toes can’t bend.
Toes are also essential for animals. They use their claws and toes to hang around and grab food. In addition, they use them for clinging to tree branches and picking fruits.
What Is the Purpose of Toes?
You might wonder why you have toes or what purpose they serve. Are they even helpful? Will it be difficult without them? The simplest answer is you need your toes. They are crucial for your day to activities and chores.
Although they may seem strange-looking and redundant, they are incredibly important. Here are a few important purposes your toes serve:
- Most significantly, they help support the body’s weight and maintain balance.
- Your toes provide you with balance and support and help you walk. In addition, they help you maintain balance regardless of whether you are on one foot or both.
- Seventy-five percent of the time, your toes are in contact with the ground while you are walking. Just like your metatarsal foot bones contribute to your movement, your toes also exert pressure while you move.
- Your toes help your feet to bear your body weight while walking.
- Your toes also play a significant role in running. As you run, you use your whole foot; your toes actually lengthen your foot, which helps you run faster.
- Toes have 14 bones, which are the smallest in your body. So despite being a small part of your body, your toes take a lot of pressure.
Which Toe Is the Most Important?
Now you know that toes are important for the functioning of your foot. However, your big toes are the most important of all. They are the real heroes! They play the most crucial role in the functioning of your toes.
Your big toes are responsible for providing support and maintaining balance. Whether standing, walking or running, your big toes bear the most of your body weight. In fact, their weight-bearing capacity is almost double that of your other toes combined.
The big toes are relatively smaller than other joints, but their importance cannot be overlooked. They have a strong influence on your body movement; let’s see how:
Walking, running, and dancing are all daily activities to have fun and stay healthy. We regularly engage in these activities without considering how they are carried out. Simply put, they have become part of our nature.
Have you ever thought about what would happen if your big toe suddenly stopped working? You probably think it won’t matter much, don’t you? But, sadly, you won’t be able to do what you love, or it won’t be as easy as it is now.
Your big toe actually makes a big difference. Big toes play a significant role in maintaining static and dynamic balance since they absorb 40 percent of the force while performing an activity.
You must have noticed that your big toe is bigger than the rest of your toes because it has more responsibilities. For example, your big toe makes the last contact with the ground as you take a step.
Your big toe returns 17 percent of the energy generated each time you step, so using your big toe effectively improves your walking. In addition, they ensure that the correct muscles are activated while walking.
Women could relate to the experience of walking with a dysfunctional big toe. Compare your walking experience in high heels with pointed-toe boxes and flat shoes. You must have experienced the difference! How easily you can walk in flat footwear because your big toe is at rest and aid your walking. However, balance in a high heel pointed toe box is difficult, causing your footsteps to be shorter.
Human beings are designed to walk on two legs; here, our big toes provide us with the balance we need to walk on uneven terrain.
Aside from walking, big toes play a significant role in balancing. A tripod formed by your big toe, pinky toe, and heel holds your foot in place. They enable your foot to transfer its pressure and energy according to the rest of your body position.
Sometimes, your body weight shifts from side to side when you walk. That’s when your big toe steps in. It controls the movement of your foot.
Whether jogging, running, playing, or dancing, your big toes aid your foot’s natural movement. This effectively moves your body forward and keeps it upright.
“Your big toe is responsible for about 80 to 90 percent of your foot control. According to the study (The Importance of The Great Toe in Balance Performance), your balance deteriorates if your big toe is constrained and you can’t function properly.”
Since your big toe is the bigger one losing it is more common than the rest of your toes. But don’t worry, you won’t lose your ability to do things and perform activities you love. While they might not be as easy as before, regular exercises will help you maintain and increase your static and dynamic balance.
Your big toes aren’t the only part of your body that controls and handles the entire body. There are several other muscles and parts in your body that helps you walk properly and perform your daily activities.
What Happens If Your Big Toes Do Not Function as They Should?
Several foot ailments are linked with your big toes. These include Achilles, plantar fasciitis, and knee problems.
You can perform the following simple tests to determine how well your big toe works.
- See if you can lift your big toe off the ground while keeping your other toes on the ground.
- See if you can lift your other toes off the ground while keeping your big toe on the ground.
There are almost 14 bones in each toe. The bones in your big toe (scientifically known as the hallux) are the most important because big toes play an important role in balance, walking, shock absorption, and propulsion. In fact, your big toe joints bear almost 40 to 60 percent of your body weight during gait.
In a normal gait, your big toes provide arch stability during the take-off and mid-stance. However, due to a dysfunctional big toe or insufficient arch support, your foot would have no shock absorption capabilities and limited propelling force.
Your big toe must be properly aligned with its supporting joints and soft tissues to have effective stabilization. If your big toe isn’t properly aligned, your big toe muscles will not be able to stabilize your foot. In addition, abnormal pronation or increased pronation can affect your big toe functionality and decrease your foot stability.
Let’s see how it works:
- There are two sesamoid bones under your big toe. These bones are embedded within the tendons that surround your big toe. These sesamoid bones move around when your big toe changes its position.
- The sesamoid bones slide into two grooves during the correct positioning of your big toe. It gives them the ideal position to provide you with the maximum foot stability.
- When your big toe is misaligned due to abnormal pronation, these bones slide to the inside of your big toe, where they are unable to provide the required foot stability.
Which Toe Is the Least Important?
No doubt your pinky toes are the least important of all. With pinky toes being the smallest, they bear the least amount of body weight and make the most negligible contribution to balance. They do not provide any support either.
If you lose your pinky toes in an accident, you will feel little to no changes in how your feet function.
Some regard pinky toes as so useless that some women even get them removed so that their feet will fit into specific shoes. However, you may be wondering if pinky toes are so useless, then why do they cause so much pain when pressed against a corner or table leg?
As such, this does not correspond to any functional benefit; rather, this is caused by heavy blood and nerve supply to this part of the feet. Because your hands and feet are your primary touch navigators, they are full of nerves. This helps send crucial sensory information to your brain and central nervous system.
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