As you grow older, it’s increasingly important for your toes to touch the ground since your body becomes weaker, and your toes require mobility and positioning to hold your weight. The main reason for this toe deformity is what’s known as bunions. Other causes like toe injury and hammertoe also exist. Toe deformities caused by toe corn and claw toes can be treated by following home remedies and simple habits like staying away from high heels.
When it comes to treating your floating toe, you can either reduce the discomfort that comes with it by engaging in toe exercises and using a pumice stone, or you could resort to surgery. There’s a wide range of toe exercises such as toe stretches and toe rolls that you can do at home itself.
A single foot is composed of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tiny muscles and tendons. Our feet act as the only connection between our body and the floor below. We unknowingly depend on our toes quite a lot to get us through our day, pretty much every time we make contact with the ground.
If our toes don’t touch the ground, we might be looking at various complications in carrying our own weight as toes have an undeniably important function in this.
This function becomes clearer as we grow older as a 2020 study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine shows that elderly patients have a 30% higher tendency to have decreased toe grip strength when compared to younger patients.
Is it important that your toes touch the ground, and why? What are the possible reasons for your toe not touching the ground? Are there other toe-related foot conditions, and how can you treat them? Are there separate treatments available to remedy your toes not touching the floor? What are some toe exercises to help increase toe mobility to touch the ground?
Is it important that your toes touch the ground?
The main reason our toes exist is to give us proper balance and posture. As you may know, when you’re standing, your body weight is wholly supported by your feet and toes.
Toes also assist with propulsion during your gait cycle, which is the sequence of movements during the motion in which one of your feet repeatedly contacts the ground.
Toes not only assist you in pushing your body weight forward as you walk, but it also helps you fasten your pace as you take longer strides when running.
So, to answer your question, yes, your toes must touch the ground, especially when you’re in motion. The incapacity of your toes to touch the ground may hint at an underlying foot condition that could need medical attention. This incapacity is known as floating toes due to its inability to touch the floor.
What are the probable reasons for toes not touching the ground?
If your toes do not touch the floor, this condition is generally and vaguely known as the floating toe condition. The causes for this condition may differ from person to person.
- Physical Trauma – We all stub our toes against various tables and bed stands and it normally doesn’t lead to a toe problem apart from the insufferable pain. However, in rare instances, if you’ve stuck your toe on an exceptionally hard surface, it could lead to the floating toe.
- Bunions – A bunion is a particular big lump that forms outside your big toe. This foot deformity is caused by years of high pressure on your big toe joint. Due to the bump, your big toe might shift its direction towards your other toes, preventing it from ever touching the ground. The worst part of this is that if your toe shifts its direction too far it might push on your other toes too to move apart causing a domino effect.
- Second toe deformity – When your second toe is unusually longer than its average length, soft tissue which surrounds this toe will be more pressurized as it’ll have more to work with. This will end up with your soft tissue failing on doing its task, resulting in floating toes.
- Hallux Limitus – This occurs when your big toe is large and stiff. This stiffness could pose difficulties in motion. This only gets worse with time and puts extra pressure on your second toe. The plantar plate on your toes which helps your toes to stay in place will be negatively affected and cause your toes to shift in position.
- Hammertoes – The main reason this happens is because of a muscular imbalance in your foot which causes your tors to contract and be permanently impacted into a bent position. It can also cause pain when you’re wearing shoes since the bent toes start to rub against the top of your shoe.
Apart from the conditions mentioned above, there’s a possibility that toe corns and calluses, runner’s nails, and wearing high heels way too often can also affect your floating toes to get worse.
Other toe related foot problems and remedies
Common toe-related complications and how you can treat them either by yourself or with the help of a doctor are clearly provided in the following table.
|Bunions||The International Center for Limb Lengthening has approved minimally invasive bunion surgery to correct a bunion deformity. Bunion pads are also available at stores to help protect your toes from extra pressure.|
|Ingrown toenails||Wash your feet with antibacterial soap, cut your toenails straight after a body wash, and wear shoes without a pointy tip will help you cope up with your toenails.|
|Toe Corns||This can be treated by surgical removal, or you can buy over-the-counter corn plasters, which help reduce the pressure affecting your toes.|
|Claw toe||Toe exercises can sometimes help you gradually heal from your claw-toe. You could also try splints and certain medications prescribed by your doctor.|
|Toe blisters||It’s best to allow toe blisters to heal by itself without even attempting to pop the blister. You can also apply a bandage to provide physical relief.|
If you also hear cracking sounds from your toes, you might want to check out this article.
How to get your floating toe to touch the floor?
There are mainly 2 things that you can do to treat your toes. You can either protect the toes, or you can correct them toes permanently.
To protect your toes, you can use various home remedies such as toe exercises, or if bunions are your main cause, you can try out bunion pads made for this purpose.
You will then have to be quite selective about the kinds of shoes you wear since you’ll have to say goodbye to high heels.
As long as your shoe doesn’t have a pointy tip, it’ll help provide relief to your toes and protect them from additional deformity.
Another home remedy that will work wonders in protecting your toes would be the careful use of a pumice stone.
Especially if you’re suffering from hammertoe, you can ease your discomfort of various corns and calluses by gently rubbing the pumice stone during a warm bath. It’s best to keep the area moist and softened before using this stone.
If you’re choosing to correct your toes, the remedy is to go through a surgical procedure to fix your toe deformity. Floating toe surgeries do exist; however, their outcome is slightly unpredictable as all the work that needs to be done is done to a very tiny joint in your toe.
Any long-term damage to your soft tissue could prevent your toe from ever returning to its usual position. If it’s a simple deformity, we would recommend you get the procedure done. However, if it’s an aggressive deformity, it’s best to stick to protective treatments for your toes.
Toe exercises for floating toe
The following toe exercises will help you greatly if you’re experiencing toe stiffness and lack of toe mobility due to your toe deformity.
A 2020 study conducted by the US National Library of Medicine among patients with toe conditions reveals significant improvement in toe-grip strength after doing toe exercises for some time.
- Toe stretches – For this, you will simply need a towel. You’ll first need to seat yourself on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Then, you can wrap the towel under your toes, and lightly tug at the ends of the towel in your direction while holding in position for about 30 seconds.
- Toe curls – For this, you’ll need to sit on a chair on place a few marbles on the floor below you. Then, you have to place your upper half of the foot on top of the marbles making sure your heel touches the ground. Now, try and crunch the marbles with the help of your toes. After a while, relax your toes and then repeat the process about 10 times.
- Toe rolls – This is just like tapping your fingers on a surface. You’ll need to hold your toes up off the ground and then attempt at inching one by one down and back up again. Repeat this movement on each toe about 10 times.
- Toe taps – Extend your feet downward while being seated. Tap on the floor with just your big toe for about 10 taps and then lift your big toe up and tap the ground with the rest of your toes for about another 10 taps. Repeat this process.
It’s obvious by now that our toes play a vital role in the proper functioning of our feet. Toes pretty much help us walk, run, skip or engage in any form of motion with our feet. This is why it’s essential to treat any toe condition at an early stage.
If it’s treated early on, you won’t have to go through a risky surgical procedure if your toe deformity gets aggravated.
But, even if you’re going to resort to medical treatment, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to try out simple home remedies like carrying out toe exercises to improve your toe mobility.
All in all, it’s better safe than sorry.