Eli5 Why is it so hard to wiggle my toes individually?



It takes a lot of concentration to get some toes to even move at all. It’s frustrating if you try to command some of these piggly wiggly’s to move.

In: Biology

The big toe is controlled by its own tendons, the other 4 are controlled by their own interconnected tendons.

Mostly because there really isn’t much need for it. Some people may be better than others but it’s just hard to send the right nerve impulse to the toes to get them to move individually cause we don’t practice or need it. Contrast this to your fingers. If we weren’t able to individually move fingers it would impair us much more.

The body has other examples of nerve discrepancy as well. For example if you touch your fingers in two spots with say a paperclip end, you have to get super close together before you only feel one pressure. But try it on your mid back and it starts to feel like one sensation much farther apart. Your back simply doesn’t need to be that sensitive to light touch and therefore not as much nerve/brain resource is dedicated to it. (Two point discrimination)

I assume the reason monkeys have more control over their feet is due to where and how they live, they evolved that way as it was necessary

Did you just listen this week’s freakenomics podcast episode as well? Apparently the shoes we are wearing are partly to blame and also because we don’t have practice with it. So start trying to pick up marbles with your toes