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Exercises for First Toe

To prevent rigidity in the first metatarsophalangeal joint it is necessary to train it every day. Development of the range of motion is very important for postoperative rehabilitation. It helps: 

  • Prevent rigidity in the great toe 
  • Prevent formation of painful adhesions (cicatrices) 
  • Speed up post-operative rehabilitation 
  • Get back to wearing model shoes including high heels in 4-6 months. 

Restoration directly depends on your will and attention. If you feel any difficulties while doing the exercises, consult your doctor. 

First and second weeks after surgery 

Rest and elevation of lower extremities are indicated. No exercises are allowed. 

Third and fourth weeks

 Start with moderate exercises. Take your great toe by its head close to the metatarsophalangeal joint. Don’t confuse the interphalangeal joint with the metatarsophalangeal joint. The interphalangeal joint is in the middle of the toe close to its nail plate. Carefully unbend the toe up till you feel resistance and light discomfort. Then hold the toe in this position for 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise 3 times, then bend the toe down till you have the same sensations. Repeat the exercise three times, 10 seconds each. This complex of exercises is to be done three times a day during the second week. 

Fifth and sixth weeks 

Within this period manual development of movements must be done 6 times a day with a constant increase in force and intensity. 

Seventh week 

Start exercises under the load of the body weight. This exercise is done while standing. It implies lifting the heel up and holding the toes pressed against the floor. This exercise provides a gradual increase in the range of motion in toes. Stand up on your toes for about 10 seconds (after the sixth week only). Start going up a mountain in order to increase bending abilities of your toes. Walking with wide steps is also effective: it is a perfect exercise for increasing flexibility in the first metatarsophalangeal joint 

 Beside that you can also do the following exercises: 

Grab the first part of the foot up to the head of the great toe with one hand. Grab the great toe at its head close to the metatarsophalangeal joint with the other hand. First of all, stretch the great toe as in Picture A. Then stabilize the front part of the foot holding it with your hand as in Picture B. Stretch the great toe up with the other hand, no twisting. The direction of forces is indicated by arrows in the picture. Don’t bend the foot (keep the toe straight). Keep the position for 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise three times. Do the similar exercise shifting the toe down and keeping the foot straight as in picture B. The direction of forces is indicated in the picture. Keep the position for about 10 seconds and repeat the exercise three times. These exercises are to be done 6 times a day. 


It is important to know that postoperative swelling can remain for six or more months after the removal of a foot lump. It is quite difficult to wear tight or model high-heeled shoes due to swelling and rigidity of the joints of the front part of the foot.

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