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Old 02-22-2006, 12:40 PM   #1
nosamiam
Location: IL (near St. Louis, MO)
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inflexible toes

Ok, this may seem strange but I'm being entirely serious here.

I studied Aikido for a year or so about 10 years or so and it is truly one of the great things I have found in my life. I'm finally getting to a financial position where I can afford to resume and I'm really looking forward to it. Anyway, on to the topic of my post:

My big toes on both left and right foot are VERY inflexible. Does anyone else have this problem? They really just don't bend back very far; maybe 30 degrees back from straight. This makes shikko very difficult and depending on the tatami, I can end up with bruises on the tips of my toes. If I lean back on my feet, I can get them to bend back about 45 degrees, but I've noticed most people's toes bend close to 90 degrees and sometimes more.

I'm pretty sure this is just a genetic thing with my body (my thumbs also have no hook to them whatsoever and I don't know if that's related or not). But I'm wondering how many aikidoists out there have this same problem.

I noticed that if I flex my toes back all the way, I can feel the tendons in the sole of my foot (they stretch from the ball of the foot all the way to the heel) are completely maxed out and very rigid. I know tendons can be stretched, but only to a certain degree. Muscles are much more agreeable, but I'm pretty sure these aren't muscles.

Anyway, anyone else have this problem and does it go away with enough time, work, and patience?
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Old 02-22-2006, 01:35 PM   #2
Dajo251
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Re: inflexible toes

I just got back into training after a 6 year absence, and my toes were very stiff the first week of classes but they lossened up after a bit, now if only I could get my ankles to losen up I'd be happy

Dan Hulley
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Old 02-22-2006, 01:40 PM   #3
aikigirl10
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Re: inflexible toes

maybe u should take a few ballet classes and learn to use the tips of your toes....

(seriously)
*Paige*
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:24 PM   #4
nosamiam
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Re: inflexible toes

ummm.... thanks for the tip. (pun intended)

But they wear toe-shoes with a box over the toe to protect it. I don't think that would work out in an aikido setting. Or maybe it would... if I had very understanding classmates!

Anybody else? Will they loosen up eventually or am I just going to have to live with it?
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:27 PM   #5
chris w
 
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Re: inflexible toes

wow! i am not alone! i have been practicing for about two and a half years and i can say that suwari waza is only slightly less painful than it was the first time i did it. however, my shikko is still very turtle-like

in my case, my feet have gotten a lttle more flexible, but my tolerance for the discomfort has increased, and that is what gets me by.
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Old 02-22-2006, 02:39 PM   #6
Qatana
 
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Re: inflexible toes

You Do Not wear Pointe shoes in ballet until the equivalent of shodan.You had Better have a Really Good grasp of the Basics, be able to dance on half-toe and develop the corect musculature to hold you up in elevations.
However, ALL of the exercises are specifically developed to give one flexible toes and they would all be beneficial to Brandon's dilemma.
Slow tendu, where you slide your foot forward keeping toes pointed to the floor. Eleve-just hang on to a table and go up & down on your toes, work up to 100 reps.Massage your feet and bend toes back & forth up to 100 reps.Go for a walk and really feel your foorrolling up the ball & over the toe, exaggerate the roll over.Jump up & down, rolling through the entire foot starting with the toes as you come down.Walk toe first and feel how you place the ball of the foot on the ground.
Having said that I've been a modern dancer for 35 years(in Modern Dance you are BAREFOOT), ballet dancer for 15(soft leather slippers, no box), aikidoka for three and my toes still hurt in kneeling techniques....some things ya just gotta learn to live with!

Q
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Old 02-22-2006, 03:13 PM   #7
nosamiam
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Re: inflexible toes

Quote:
Jo Adell wrote:
You Do Not wear Pointe shoes in ballet until the equivalent of shodan.You had Better have a Really Good grasp of the Basics, be able to dance on half-toe and develop the corect musculature to hold you up in elevations.
However, ALL of the exercises are specifically developed to give one flexible toes and they would all be beneficial to Brandon's dilemma.
Slow tendu, where you slide your foot forward keeping toes pointed to the floor. Eleve-just hang on to a table and go up & down on your toes, work up to 100 reps.Massage your feet and bend toes back & forth up to 100 reps.Go for a walk and really feel your foorrolling up the ball & over the toe, exaggerate the roll over.Jump up & down, rolling through the entire foot starting with the toes as you come down.Walk toe first and feel how you place the ball of the foot on the ground.
Having said that I've been a modern dancer for 35 years(in Modern Dance you are BAREFOOT), ballet dancer for 15(soft leather slippers, no box), aikidoka for three and my toes still hurt in kneeling techniques....some things ya just gotta learn to live with!
Thanks for this reply (and especially Paige and also Chris W)! Just goes to show how much I know about ballet. I will try some of those exercises for sure. And I'll start working on seiza too. I won't be starting lessons again for at least another month.
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Old 02-22-2006, 05:01 PM   #8
pezalinski
 
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Re: inflexible toes

I had a hairline fracture in my Big toe for a while, and it seemed to take forever for it to heal, and for suwariwaza to return to being a more comfortable act.

It gets better, the more you practice and the more you do it.

Either you get better at tolerating the pain, or your body adapts to the change in movement...


A little danger is a knowledge thing...

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Old 02-22-2006, 05:25 PM   #9
crbateman
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Re: inflexible toes

There are numerous range-of-motion exercises for the toes and feet. It is easy to dismiss this as a simple flexibility issue, but it is also important to first determine the other contributing physical factors possibly involved in your specific case, such as scar tissue, arthritis, bone spurs or fragments, or calcium deposits. You may benefit from contacting a podiatrist or orthopaedist, and then a physical therapist.

Last edited by crbateman : 02-22-2006 at 05:27 PM.
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