Strange question, you ask? If you are a runner, it is a question that you should be asking yourself, as the big toe is a very BIG part of your running mechanics. You can’t run efficiently without involving the big toe and the mechanics of the foot in general. As a proponent of minimal shoes and even barefoot training, I learned many years ago that my feet make me an efficient runner. I started running barefoot on the grass around 2004 and found soon after that my running strength and efficiency improved greatly. I had less foot issues and stronger ankles — I have since my high school cross-country days always turned my ankles (seemingly for no reason, even on flat pavement). The next few years I had some of my best racing numbers ever.
But that is a tangent…. back to the big toe. Why does the big toe affect your running? See the following article by running coach, triathlete, and physical therapists Chis Johnston and Bruce Wilk entitled: “Understanding the Great Toe for Great Running.”
They present some exercises for manipulating the big toe and the plantar fascia to make it more flexible and thus more efficient. Your feet are an amazing mechanism. Take care of them and you’ll enjoy better and easier runs!