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The Effect of Toe Flexion Exercises on Grip

Discussion in 'General Issues and Discussion Forum' started by NewsBot, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.


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    The Effect of Toe Flexion Exercises on Grip.
    Helen Branthwaite, Gemma Grabtree, Nachiappan Chockalingam, and Andrew Greenhalgh
    Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association: September 2018, Vol. 108, No. 5, pp. 355-361.
  2. scotfoot

    scotfoot Well-Known Member

    From the above -

    "The ability to increase apical peak pressure and contact time after exercises could assist in improving forefoot stability and gait efficiency and in reducing toe pathology progression."

    Toe grip exercises will strengthen the extrinsic toe flexors but not the intrinsic toe flexors .

    This may therefore produce or exacerbate toe flexor imbalances . Muscle imbalances will generally not lead to improved stability in a joint or anatomical region , but exactly the opposite .

    In my opinion toe gripping may well lead to increasing levels of toe pathology in some conditions .
  3. efuller

    efuller MVP

    Why do you think that?
  4. scotfoot

    scotfoot Well-Known Member

    Jung et al , 2011 .

    Toe curls in single leg stance 17.5 MVC of abductor hallucis .
  5. efuller

    efuller MVP

    I don't have the article. could you expand on what they said. For example what is MVC? How can you extrapolate to all toe grip excercises from one excercise?
  6. scotfoot

    scotfoot Well-Known Member

    Jung and his co workers were looking at the effects of the short foot exercise as compared to toe curls on the abductor hallucis . MVC simple means maximum voluntary contraction and relates to the maximum force that the muscle can exert . Jung found that the short foot exercise produced a MVC of 73.2 % in the abdh and of only 17.5 % with the toe curl in single leg stance .

    Toe grip exercises are all pretty much the same . You curl your toes in a gripping action , which is not how they should function during gait at all . The idea that toes grip the ground by a curling type action during unshod gait is widespread , persistent ,and incorrect .

    When considering the proximal aspect of the foot , from the met heads back , the foot is commonly misrepresented as a biomechanical block with little neuromusclar , intrinsic , activity .

    Distally , many seem to view the toes as a ground gripping entity , which is also wrong ( except with regard to traction provided by toes which remain straight and flex around the MTFJ )

    I have little problem accepting the use of therapy balls because although they may contribute to muscle imbalances between the intrinsic and extrinsic toe flexors it is unlikely that such exercises make much of a difference to clinical function over time .

    However , progressive toe curl exercises against increasing resistance may be a different ball game altogether .
  7. scotfoot

    scotfoot Well-Known Member

    Eric ,
    Until recently a considerable amount research into toe flexor muscles has come from Japan . This research typically involved a toe gripping device to measure toe strength and toe curl exercises to effect change . I disagree with this approach and so was pleased with a very recent paper from Japan ( Yasuhiro et al 2018) , which also used a different , more clinically relevant measurement device .

    Comparing the old toe grip system of measurement with the "new " system the researchers demonstrated that , for agility at least ,the newer system was a better predictor of the relationship between toe flexor strength and function .

    I have included a link to the paper PDF at the end of this post but basically the newer system they investigated involved looking at the force the toes can apply during isometric contraction when the toes are in a dorsflexed position ( 45 degrees ) .

    Here are a few quotes from the paper

    " Our results suggest that athletes can improve their ability to change direction with toe muscular strength training with the metatarsophalangeal joint in the dorsiflexed position "

    " However , the conventional exercises for strengthening intrinsic foot muscles , such as the towel curl and short foot exercise , have been performed at the MPJ in a plantar flexed position( Lynn et al 2012 )

    Therefore it is recommended that athletes perform these exercises TMS ( toe muscles ) at the MPJ in the dorsiflxed position ,such as jump rope and or calf raise exercises "


    (PDF) Relationship Between Toe Muscular Strength and the Ability to ...


    19 Nov 2018 - Article (PDF Available) · October 2018 with 10 Reads ... The ability to change directionis more strongly affected by toe ... tests, but no significant correlations between toe flexor strength and the pro-agility and 3-cone tests.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
  8. scotfoot

    scotfoot Well-Known Member

    With regard to the above this next bit is interesting . It compares 2 papers .

    Yasuhiro et al 2018, showed that there was a significant relationship between agility and toe flexor strength when the later was measured using the device in fig 1 (B) of their paper .

    However, another recent paper about dancers (1) , using the same device as shown in fig 1 (B) Yasuhiro , to measure toe flexor strength ,failed to show any difference in toe flexor strength between dancers and non dancers ,which surprised the authors .

    But look closely at the two set ups . Fig 1 in the dance related paper below , and fig 1 (B) in (PDF) Relationship Between Toe Muscular Strength and the Ability to ...

    If you look closely , in Yasuhiro there appears to be an insert under the foot with a heel stop . The heel stop makes or breaks the testing method . Without the heel stop the heel can slide backwards when the toe flexors apply force.

    The set up used in the dance paper (1) has no heel stop and so , in my opinion , the toe flexor strength values are liable to be inaccurate .

    Paper (1) Dance and toe flexors

    (PDF) Toe Flexor Strength, Flexibility and Function and Flexor Hallucis ...

  9. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Correlation between functional ability, toe flexor strength, and plantar pressure of hallux valgus in young female adults: a cross-sectional study
    Mieko Yokozuka, Kanako Okazaki, Yuko Sakamoto & Koko Takahashi
    Journal of Foot and Ankle Research volume 13, Article number: 44 (2020)
  10. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Excellent reliability of toe strength measurements in children aged ten to twelve years achieved with a novel fixed dynamometer
    ShayanQuinlanPeterSinclairAdrienneHuntAlycia FongYan
    Gait & Posture; 20 January 2021

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