Toe fusion/Yoga?

Hi all!

One of my students had a toe fusion surgery a few years back and she loves Yoga but has been very uncomfortable with many asanas - there is a metal screw in her toe joint so many poses are difficult. Has anyone experienced this? Suggestions? I want her to feel like she is able to modify as we’re moving through class -

Thanks for ANY suggestions you can offer. Be well :slight_smile:

Hello , would be helpful for folk if you describe the style of your class or school of yoga you trained with and what poses your student has issues with.

I teach Classical Hatha Yoga and some gentle Vinyasa (including surya namaskar - sun salutations). This particular class is pretty large and the asanas my student struggles with are: downward dog, cobra, kneeling, lunges and most standing poses. I’m wondering if a washcloth or small towel might help her foot, I’m just not sure how.
Thanks for any feedback! Blessings :slight_smile:

You would have to assess her to determine if she’s having problems in the toe in both dorsi and plantar flexion. Check her in dandasana. If she’s having problems with both then you’ll need a different modification for those poses that require dorsiflexion and those that require plantar flexion.

Either way, a vinyasa class might not be appropriate for her - if the discomfort you cite is ergonomic in nature and relative to her surgery (as opposed to other sorts of discomfort which could also be in the feet in those poses).


Thank you :slight_smile:

Why not recommend that she see a trained yoga therapist?

A well trained yoga therapist can help determine her safe range of motions - help her develop a comfortable personal practice. And help work through modifications for a safe and enjoyable group class.

Purna gave good suggestions - but if she needs extensive modifications then wouldn’t this best be handled personally rather than in a group class? For both your student’s benefit and the benefit of other student’s class. (Ok - I hope that isn’t taken the wrong way - I do realize that I’m not answering the question - but posing a different perspective.)


I can make a recommendation in the Portland are if you are interested.

Thanks, Vic, for your feedback! I am actually a trained Yoga therapist but this has me stumped. When testing her ROM, everything appears to be normal. She actually has no pain with any dorsi flexion or plantar flexion. It’s focused on one toe in particular. Tonight I actually offered her a private session because you’re right, this is best handled one on one, but it’s such an odd situation - certain asanas that I would expect to bother her, don’t, and vice versa, and even the ones that bother her are inconsistent.
In the past with Yoga therapy, I’ve faced challenges like this where it just takes being creative and investigating, but I wanted to know if anyone out there has already dealt with this, if there is a specific protocol for toe fusion of which I’m unaware.
Thanks so much for your help! Blessings :slight_smile:

I have had this surgery and struggle with the following issues:
The big toe joint is removed and then fused with a metal plate at a slight upward angle so we can walk. This means any pressure downwards on the top of the toe is unfomfortable... Eg anything kneeling with toes out like child's pose. Additionally anything where you move/roll over tip toes to upside down is really hard as we loose the muscle and faith to do this without discomfort.
I use a silica gel nipple pad strapped to the top of my feet where the joint was!