[RESEARCH] Toe Flexor Strength and Balance | Modern Manual Therapy Blog - Manual Therapy, Videos, Neurodynamics, Podcasts, Research Reviews

[RESEARCH] Toe Flexor Strength and Balance

[RESEARCH] Toe Flexor Strength and Balance - theManualTherapist.com

Toe Strength and Balance in 60’s +

The substantial role of large muscle groups in balance is recognized, such as:
  • Trunk
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Ankles
However, significance of the toe flexor muscles is less well understood. 10 toe flexor muscles contribute to motion of the foot.

  • Flexor digitorum longus
  • Flexor hallucis longus

  • Abductor hallucis
  • Adductor hallucis
  • Flexor hallucis brevis
  • Flexor digitorum brevis
  • Flexor digiti minimi brevis
  • Lumbricals
  • Interossei
  • Quadratus plantae

Poor toe flexor muscle strength has been implicated in:
  • Poor postural balance
  • Injury risk
Quinlan et al. (2020), systematically reviewed the research to establish if toe flexor strength related to static and dynamic balance.

9 studies with over 2200 participants met inclusion criteria. In each study, participants were over sixty years of age, and over 73 % of them were female.  All studies showed direct, proportional, and significant correlations between toe flexor strength and postural balance.

Toe flexor strength contributes to improved postural balance for people over the age of 60. Including specific Toe Flexor Exercises into workouts can have a positive effect on balance

  • No study was found/included for a younger population group
  • Primarily observational studies
Quinlan et al. 2020. The evidence for improving balance by strengthening the toe flexor muscles: A systematic review. Gait and Posture, 81, pp. 55-56.

Dalton Urrutia, MSc PT

Dalton is a Physical Therapist from Oregon, currently living and running the performance physiotherapy clinic he founded in London for Grapplers and Strength & Conditioning athletes. Dalton runs the popular instagram account @physicaltherapyresearch, where he posts easy summaries of current and relevant research on health, fitness, and rehab topics. 
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