- The hallux, commonly referred to as the big toe (also as great toe or thumb toe), although it may not be the longest toe on the foot of some people, is the innermost toe of the foot. It is counted as digit I (one). The name stems from the Latin for the same, similar to the pollex, which refers to the thumb.
- The hallux is considered to be the most important toe for strength in walking, whereas the fifth, or “pinky”, toe is considered to be the most important for balance.
- In humans, the hallux is longer than the second or pointer toe for a majority of people. This is an inherited trait in humans, where the dominant gene causes a longer second toe (“Morton’s toe“) while the homozygous recessive genotype presents with the more common trait: a longer hallux.
- People with the rare genetic disease fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva characteristically have a short hallux which appears to turn inward, or medially, in relation to the foot.
- In birds with anisodactyl or heterodactyl feet, the hallux is opposed or directed backwards and allows for grasping and perching.
- A common problem involving the big toe is the formation of bunions (or Hallux valgus), an abnormal enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the base of the toe.
- The big toe is also the most common locus of ingrown nails and gout attacks.
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