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How do I prevent injuries in my toes while kickboxing? Specially the big toe and the small one?

I have heard about taping but is there a strengthening exercise to prevent injury or such? If you suggest taping I'd like to know specifically how.

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What kind of injuries are you trying to avoid? The only toe injuries I've gotten are jams/breaks/sprains from direct impact or being bent back or sideways. I don't know of any way to avoid that other than caution. –  Dave Liepmann Oct 7 '11 at 14:36
    
I had an injury in training last week that is neither a jam break or sprain (I am going to the doctor soon to check it) and it hurts like hell but the toe looks normal. Just like his twin on the other foot. Caution? How can you be cautious when you make a front kick but your opponent accidentally protects hirself with the knee? –  Joze Oct 7 '11 at 14:38
    
watch remo williams. –  Ryan Miller Oct 7 '11 at 16:17

3 Answers 3

  • Tape the big toe to the adjacent toe. Put some type of gauze or soft material in between the two toes and tape them firmly together.
  • Do the same thing for the fifth toe. Tape it firmly to the fourth toe with soft material in between.

If the point is bracing the toes on the occasions of heavy martial arts, the support and lack of mobility will be protective against breaks. Over long periods of time this will weaken the muscles around the toes however.

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What does this prevent? Doesn't it restrict mobility? Wouldn't this weaken the toes if done regularly, much like constantly wearing a knee brace weakens the knee? –  Dave Liepmann Oct 7 '11 at 14:34
    
I'm sorry, I can't agree with "support and lack of mobility will be protective". In my limited martial experience, the biggest preventative measures for toe injury include toe mobility so that they can be put out of the way during a kick. –  Dave Liepmann Oct 7 '11 at 17:22
    
After breaking my big toe during kicking/running, the Orthopedist at a state of the art practice instructed me to tape the toes together that are prone to injury as a brace in the future. –  Seth Rogers Oct 7 '11 at 17:38

Without the use of foot padding (like boxing gloves), there's no way to build muscle around the toes to prevent bone-to-bone injury - either causing jams, breaks, sprains, etc. This includes the many bones on top of the foot. You can tape the toes together to build support from prior injuries - but that's it. There are some systems that emphasis using the ball of the foot instead of the top or toes, but even the practitioners of those systems have the same (but reduced) injuries.

I would recommend starting slow and light with the contact and working your way up over time to build timing needed to reduce the bone-to-bone contact (any part of the body) and mental conditioning when it does occur.

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I could be wildly wrong, but I don't think there's much to do. I would be wary of taping them unless (and even if) an instructor had a specific method. Your best course of action is boring:

  • Use proper technique
  • Don't kick people with your toes, particularly in their elbow, shin or knee
  • Improve your toe flexibility, particularly in extension (that's where the toes reach towards the top of the foot)
  • Accept the fact that toes get injured in kickboxing, and that it's generally not too bad

That's been my experience.

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