How Is My Pinky Toe Giving Me Shoulder Pain?

I've been stoked to write this series ever since I brainstormed it out a few weeks ago. It's amazing how intricate our bodies are ​and how unbelievably connected everything is, too. In this series, I will explain how it is ​possible for your pinky toe to be a source of your shoulder pain.
Let's start out with a test...

1.) Stand up tall with your arms at your side

2.) Ground throughout your feet, by evenly balancing out your body weight throughout the entire surface area of your foot -- including your toes.

3.) Now, push your ​RIGHT big toe into the ground, while lifting the your other four toes. Hold for 10 seconds.

4.) Repeat again, but with your left foot -- pushing your ​LEFT big toe into the ground and holding your left, four small toes above the ground.

Fairly easy, right?

Let's do another test...
1.) Start in the same position as the first test -- standing up tall, arms at your side, grounding through your feet.

2.) On your right foot, push your four small toes into the ground, while trying to lift up your big toe. Lift the big toe as high as you can in the air. Hold it there for 10 seconds.

3.) Repeat again, but on your left foot.

Pretty hard, right?

What just happened?

Folks, you just experienced something awesome, and it has to do with our fascial system.
What is our fascial system?

Simply put, our fascia is a system of fibrous connective tissue that runs throughout our body, housing, enclosing, and connecting our internal organs and muscles.
Think of fascia like an orange: the flesh is our muscles and organs; the peel is our skin; and the white, fibrous layer directly underneath the skin is your fascia.
Our fascia is responsible for connecting everything together and housing our very important organs and muscle groups.
What in the world does this have to do with shoulder pain?

When you performed the two tests above, you fired one of your 12 myofascial lines running throughout your body. Specifically, you fired the spinal line.
The spinal line runs from the bottom sides of your feet -- up the respective leg to your hip and then ​crosses over your body heading toward the opposite shoulder and up the back of your neck.
Confused yet?

Let me break it down for you...
Since the spinal line runs from your foot to your neck and houses all our muscle groups in between -- if one muscle in that line is out of whack (i.e. inflamed, pulling, or too tight) -- it will pull on another part of the line.
Essentially, you could be experiencing pain in your shoulder that could be originating from something in your foot or for example, your PINKY TOE!
It's crazy, right?
Stay tuned for next week where we will discuss how to alleviate shoulder pain through your spinal line, why your big toe is important, and how your kick is involved.

Want a​ FREE stroke technique lesson from Abbie? -- HEAD HERE.
​Abbie Fish​ has been in the competitive swimming realm for over 20 years. After capping off a successful career at University of Georgia, Abbie soon found herself back on the deck as a coach.

Currently, Abbie is a Technique Swim Coach at ​​​​​Ritter Sports Performance She spends her time analyzing race videos and studying different style of stroke technique. Become a Technique Toolbox member -- start your FREE 7-Day trial at
 ​or email Abbie at

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