What Is Toe Grip Strength?
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Toe Grip Strength- An Overview

Published on May 12, 2023   -  4 min read


Toe grip strength is an important indicator of the overall strength and stability of the lower limb. Read this article below to know more about it.


Toe gripping is a complex movement accomplished with the help of several muscles. Muscles involved in toe gripping are flexor hallucis longus, flexor hallucis brevis, lumbricals, flexor digitorum longus, and flexor digitorum brevis muscles. Toe grip strength is an independent predictor of falls, especially among older adults. Hence, it has gained a lot of recognition these days.

What Is Toe Grip Strength?

Toe grip strength can be defined as the toe’s ability to grip or hold onto objects or surfaces. It is a vital component of stability and balance. This enables the individuals to perform activities like walking, jumping, or climbing. It also helps to prevent falls and ankle injuries, especially in older adults. The muscles responsible for toe grip strength are situated in the foot, including the intrinsic muscles of the foot and the calf muscles. These muscles work together to provide stability and control of the foot. Specific exercises will help in strengthening these muscles.

What Are the Factors That Affect Toe Grip Strength?

Several factors affect the toe grip strength, including:

  • Age: Toe grip strength decreases with aging due to muscle loss and joint degeneration.

  • Foot Injuries: Injuries, such as sprains or fractures, can have a negative impact on the grip strength and may require rehabilitation to regain full strength.

  • Body Weight: Being overweight reduces toe grip strength. In addition, excess body weight places stress on the muscles used for gripping the toes, which can lead to muscle fatigue and decreased strength.

  • Strength and Flexibility of Muscles: Weak or tight muscles in the foot reduce toe grip strength.

  • Abnormal Foot Arch Height: Conditions like flat feet or high arches can affect the ability of the toes to grip properly.

  • Physical Activity: People who regularly do physical activity, such as running, jumping, and climbing, have increased toe grip strength, while an inactive lifestyle can lead to decreased strength.

  • Footwear: Worn-out or ill-fitting shoes can reduce the toe grip strength.

  • Sex: Women usually have lower toe grip strength than men due to changes in body size and muscle mass.

How to Measure the Toe Grip Strength?

  • Dynamometer, a device that measures force, can measure the toe grip strength.

  • Firstly, the person will place their foot on the device and grip a bar or handle with their toes.

  • Next, the device will measure the force generated by the toes as the person squeezes the bar or handle.

  • The readings can then be recorded and compared to standard values to determine the toe grip strength.

  • Additionally, hand-held, portable dynamometers can assess toe grip strength in clinical and athletic training environments.

  • A dynamometer works in the principle of converting the force applied by a person into an electrical signal that can be measured and recorded.

  • The parts of a dynamometer include a load cell, the device that senses the force being applied, and an amplifier, which increases the electrical signal generated by the load cell so that it can be easily measured.

  • In the case of a toe grip dynamometer, the load cell is a strain gauge, which changes its electrical resistance as the applied force deforms it.

  • The strain gauge is mounted on a platform or bar that the person grips with their toes.

  • When the person squeezes the bar or handles with their toes, the strain gauge deforms, and this change in resistance is detected by the amplifier, which converts it into an electrical signal.

  • Then the signal is transferred into a digital display system, which records and displays the toe grip strength.

What Are the Exercises to Improve Toe Grip Strength?

There are some exercises to improve toe grip strength; they include the following.

  • Toe Curls: A person will sit with feet flat on the ground and lift toes as high as they can, then lower them back down. Repeat it ten to fifteen times.

  • Towel Scrunches: First, the person places a small towel on the floor in this exercise. Using toes to grip the towel towards the foot and scrunch it. Make sure to use only the toe finger to control the towel and repeat this exercise several times.

  • Balancing Exercise: Exercises like the single-leg balance, where the person stands on one leg and holds the position for a specified time.

What Are Medical Conditions Which Affect the Toe Grip Strength?

Severe conditions which affect the toe grip strength include:

  • Neurological Conditions: Conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injuries can affect the nerves and muscles in the feet, leading to decreased toe grip strength.

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Inflammation of the joints in the feet can lead to joint damage, cause weakness, and reduce toe grip strength.

  • Musculoskeletal Injuries: Injuries to the feet, such as sprains, fractures, or dislocations, can affect toe grip strength.

  • Diabetes: Diabetes can lead to nerve damage, called neuropathy, affecting muscle strength, including toe grip strength.

  • Vitamin Deficiencies: Lack of vitamin B12 can affect nerve function and reduce toe grip strength.

What Are the Different Devices for Measuring Toe Grip Strength?

Several devices can be used for measuring toe grip strength which include:

  • Hand-held Dynamometer: A portable and compact device that can measure toe grip strength in clinical or athletic training.

  • Strain Gauge Dynamometer: A device that uses a strain gauge to detect changes in electrical resistance caused by force applied to the gauge.

  • Pinch Gauge: A device specifically designed for measuring pinch strength in the toes.

  • Grip Strength Meter: A device that measures the force generated by the grip of the hand and fingers but can also be used to measure the toe grip strength.

  • Clinical Assessment Tools: Tools designed for use in a clinical setting to assess strength, including toe grip strength, as part of an evaluation.


Toe grip strength is a valuable component of balance, stability, and overall foot health. Incorporating exercises to improve toe grip strength into a workout routine is essential for maintaining foot health and function. Strong toes can help prevent injury and improve performance in physical activities. In addition, measuring toe grip strength may be a valuable tool in predicting the risk of falls.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
12 May 2023  -  4 min read


Dr. Anuj Nigam

Dr. Anuj Nigam

Orthopedician And Traumatology


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