Can I Still Walk?

The ability to walk is something we take completely for granted. If you have ever lost the ability to walk for a short time due to injury, then you quickly learned how the simple act of walking is so precious. Crutches are no adequate substitute for walking and quite frankly are a pain to deal with.

Unfortunately in our business of foot and ankle care, we frequently must perform amputations of some portion if not the entire foot. The big toe is especially a likely candidate for amputation. A common question prior to amputation of the big toe has to do with the ability to walk: Will I be able to walk? The answer quite simply is YES.

Yes, you are able to walk without your big toe. Now you will not have the same gait pattern as before. The big toe bears a significant amount of pressure during the normal gait cycle. The big to itself is the last portion of your foot to purchase the ground and helps in push off before the swing phase of gait. When your big toe is absent that role is now shifted to the 2nd and 3rd digits and metatarsal heads. Your gait wont be entirely apropulsive, but it will not have the fluid motion as before.

Some potential complications that can arise are the development of calluses and pain beneath the 1st metatarsal head, the 2nd metatarsal head, OR the 3rd metatarsal head. Inserts can be modified to offload these areas. If left untreated however, ulcers may form and potential bone infection. Once bone infection sets in we are right back at the amputation option again.

If you are facing a potential amputation of a portion of your foot and are concerned about walking, please talk with your physician about your concern and together formulate a plan to assist you.

If you need foot or ankle TLC, please contact Dr. Bowman at 713-467-8886 or visit

Photo credit: MeiTeng via RGB-stock

Category: Foot Problems

Tags: Gait, Walking