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Impacting Hallux Valgus

Following on from our Common Issues Hallux Valgus (HV) article, you were probably left with questions about how you can impact your HV. That's ok, we're going to address that here.

What can you do about Hallux Valgus?

If you have HV then the key thing is to manage our symptoms and create a strategy to reduce its impact on your performance for as long as possible. Many dancers and performers live with this and things can be done to reduce its impact on your performance and day-to-day life. Firstly it is worth noting that hallux valgus can take years to develop and there is no quick fix to this as it is very much a structural issue. That said you can make an impact on it, and here's some good things to try to help management of your discomfort:

- Pain management: Key part of the picture, icing the inflamed area is very important especially after rehearsing or performing

- Icing after performing can be a simple, but important strategy to reduce aggrevation

- Modify shoes: Low-heeled and/or wider fitting shoes if possible

- Pads: Using a medial bunion pad can help reduce irritation

- Consider orthotics, finding an amazing podiatrist can be a really useful part of long term strategies around HV

- Strength: Can make a short term impact but is essential long-term

- Stretching: Can be useful for short term symptom modifcation which may assist the effectiveness of your strength work

- Toe spacers: Often found to be a useful management tool in the right circumstances

Longer term strategy

In the long term, like with many musculoskeletal issues, a good strengthening program can help a great deal in the management of pain, slowing the development of issues as well as giving you the platform to spend more time rehearsing and performing.

Targeting both local foot musculature and the higher kinetic chain is key for many reasons, especially when considering the biomechanical issues that can occur from HV.

Biomechanical considerations

The effectiveness of the big toe to push into the floor, which is a vital mechanism for everything from walking to jumping and changing direction, reduces which will then put more pressure on the metatarsal heads of toes to 2 to 5.

This narrower base due to the position of the big toe also reduces the stability of the foot and ankle which may make it more difficult for you to control lateral movement (those in the frontal plane) or rotational forces (the rotational plane), this can have a bottom upwards affect on your biomechanics and cause issues higher up the chain.

Local Strengthening considerations

The intrinsic muscles of the foot are vital for foot function and targeting these is worth trying, especially in early stages of hallux valgus. The intrinsic muscles you can target could be:

- Abductor hallucis

- Adductor hallucis

- Flexor hallucis brevis

Extrinsic muscles to target:

- Tibialis posterior

- Peroneus longus

Kinetic chain

To reduce the possible upwards effects of hallux valgus it is worth thinking about a few things

- Soleus capacity

- Quadriceps capacity

- Global hip strength





Medial & lateral rotation

These muscle groups are extremely responsive to patterns where you may be trying to avoid pain. Their weakening can exacerbate the issue as these vital muscles lose their ability to absorb load and control unwanted movement which can end up overloading static structures and limiting performance significantly.

Struggling with strengthening ideas around Hallux Valgus? We'll get the answered soon


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