Results and Expectations From Wearing Correct Toes

What to Expect From Wearing Correct Toes

“When can I expect to see results?” This is a common question patients ask about Correct Toes, and it reflects patients’ desire to resolve existing foot problems, restore normal, healthy foot anatomy, and prevent future foot, ankle, and lower extremity ailments. We find that most people, most of the time, experience some immediate relief, with continued positive musculoskeletal health benefits occurring over many months and years. Of course, results may be different for different people, and the direct and indirect health benefits of Correct Toes depends on many factors, including your age, your tissue mobility, how frequently you use your Correct Toes toe spacers, your physical activity level, and how often you wear appropriate footwear, to name a few factors among many.

Most people can expect to feel and/or see the beneficial effects of Correct Toes within the first 30 minutes of use. However, for architectural changes to occur, both time and dedication to Correct Toes use is important. For example, in attempting to reverse a bunion, some movement of the big toe (which is lacking in many patients with this health problem) likely will be visible within a few months of regular Correct Toes use (especially in people who use Correct Toes during weight-bearing activities). Further favorable changes will continue over many months or years. Wearing Correct Toes is, ultimately, an investment in lifelong foot health. Think of it this way: It took a lifetime for your feet to conform to the narrow toe boxes of conventional footwear. Over many years, your foot shape changed, causing the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues involved in standing, walking, and running to adapt to help slow this deformation. It is most certainly possible to undo these negative changes—we see it in our patients all the time—but sustained, long-term changes in foot form do not occur overnight.

You should anticipate using Correct Toes as a part of your foot care plan for many years. Positive changes in your foot symptoms, form, and function will occur much sooner than this, though only continued use of the Correct Toes toe-spacing appliance will ensure ongoing and lasting natural foot health in adults who have used conventional footwear since youth. To help illustrate the restorative effects of Correct Toes (and to give you a general sense of the timeline for significant toe realignment), let’s look at three unique groups: Children, athletes, and elderly individuals.

Children are the most adaptable of the three groups (i.e., a little bit of effort in restoring proper foot anatomy goes a long way with this group). In many cases, children’s feet respond quickly to corrective toe positioning, and the long-term use of toe spacers may not be necessary. Athletes are an interesting group because they can do considerable damage to their feet through the prolonged use of severely constricting footwear, yet they respond very well to Correct Toes when the toe spacers are adopted and used in appropriate footwear. Athletes, especially runners, subject their feet and toes to tremendous repetitive forces during weight-bearing activity. If the toes are properly aligned, however, these forces can accelerate the corrective effect of the toe spacers. Elderly individuals are often the least adaptable and the least likely to see lasting structural changes in their feet and toes (due to decreased tissue mobility). This is not to say, however, that elderly individuals will not experience lasting relief from their chronic foot and lower leg problems with the regular use of Correct Toes. In fact, many seniors report excellent results and improved quality of life (including a heightened sense of balance) with consistent Correct Toes use.

–Dr Ray McClanahan, DPM, Northwest Foot & Ankle

To learn more about Correct Toes click here.

Shin Splints

Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is a lower extremity health problem involving pain and tenderness along or behind the inner edge of your tibia—the larger of the two bones in your lower leg. Shin splints commonly manifest following vigorous physical activity, including endurance exercise and other sports involving running. Shin splints occur when certain muscles and tendons as well as your periosteum—the thin layer of tissue that covers your tibia—become inflamed.

Condition Information

Shin splints are a common lower extremity problem, especially among athletes. Most athletes experience shin splints at some point during their lives. Certain risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing shin splints, including flat feet, abnormally rigid foot arches, certain running or jogging training errors, dancing, and military training.

The underlying cause of your shin splints usually dictates the location of your symptoms, but most people with this health problem experience pain or discomfort along both sides of their shinbone or in their nearby lower extremity muscles. Your podiatrist can perform a thorough physical examination to help rule in a diagnosis of shin splints. Your healthcare provider may also use X-ray imaging to check for fractures in your involved area.

Causes and Symptoms

Shin splints are more of a symptom of an underlying musculoskeletal problem than a true medical condition. Possible causes of shin splints or pain in your lower extremity, between your ankles and your knees, include:

  • Irritated and swollen muscles associated with overuse
  • Stress fractures (small, hairline breaks) in your lower leg bones
  • Foot arch collapse associated with flat feet or overpronation

The leading cause of shin splints, however, is inappropriate footwear, including footwear that possesses the following design characteristics:

Rapid changes in your physical activity level, especially in combination with poor footwear choices, are a significant contributor to this health problem. Running distances you are not used to, boosting the number of days you exercise each week, changing the surface you run or exercise on, and increasing the volume or intensity of your hill workouts can place significant stress on your lower extremity tissues and lead to shin splints, even in trained athletes.

Treatment

Your shin splints may self-resolve, although they are likely to recur if the underlying factors causing this health problem are not dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner. Treatment for shin splints falls into two distinct categories: Immediate and long-term.

Immediate treatment measures include:

  • Rest
  • Elevation of your affected leg
  • Ice application (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off) for 24 to 48 hours
  • Achilles tendon and anterior lower leg muscle stretching
  • Taping procedures

Long-term treatment measures, to help prevent recurrence of your shin splints, include:

  • Ankle and calf strengthening exercises
  • Proper shoe selection and use
  • Toe splay, as enabled with the use of Correct Toes toe-spacers. This encourages a lower-impact gait pattern, which in turn reduces stress to your periosteum.
  • Various leg and calf stretches before and after physical activity
  • A proper training plan

— Dr. Ray McClanahan, DPM, Northwest Foot and Ankle

For more information please visit our website.

Running Times Magazine Loves Correct Toes

Running Times Magazine Loves Correct Toes!

Check out the new November/December Running Times feature “Weird Stuff That Works.”

Please visit http://www.CorrectToes.com to learn more about the benefits of Correct Toes through our resources, articles and videos.

Running Times Correction: Lisa Uhl is a believer in our product however Sanya Richards-Ross has not endorsed or provided a statement on Correct Toes.

Common Foot Myths… Debunked!

Picture from New York Parking Ticket

Below we present some ideas about feet and footwear that are commonly believed but erroneous. These myths are then dispelled. This information helps to illustrate why Correct Toes toe-spacers, used as a part of a natural treatment approach, can alleviate a wide variety of foot problems.

Myth #1
The foot is inherently misshaped. The way to correct foot problems is by using orthotics or undergoing surgery.

Myth Dispelled
Look at the foot of a young child. You will notice that his or her toes are spaced well apart. The foot of a young child is naturally designed for optimal balance and gait. Their widely spaced toes, along with the ball of their foot and their heel, provide an optimal base of support for their arch. If the foot maintains this shape, optimal stride is preserved through old age. This is what is seen in societies that go barefoot or wear predominantly flip-flops. In industrialized societies however, people spend a life time wearing shoes with rigid soles and tapered toe boxes, a situation which inevitably leads to a change in foot shape. This deformation of the foot by the shoe is what leads to foot, ankle, knee, and other muscle and joint problems. Thus, the foot is NOT naturally misshaped. In most cases, it starts out just right. The way to address most foot and ankle problems, then, is not through use of orthotics or surgeries, but rather by allowing the foot to return to its natural form, with level forefoot and heel, and with the feet’s natural toe splay encouraged.

Myth #2
Athletic shoes are good for feet, because they are flat, they absorb impact, and they support the heel and arch.

typical athletic shoe with heel elevation and toespring

Myth Dispelled
Most people know that high heels are more about fashion than function, but what’s wrong with athletic shoes? If you examine footwear designed for sports, you’ll notice that even these shoes elevate the heel, extend the toes, and pinch the toes together. Instead of enhancing performance, this triad of design features actually compromises the natural gait cycle, leading to chronically tight foot and toe extensor muscles and structural changes in the toes themselves (i.e., the toes are forced toward the foot’s midline where they remain, permanently, unless steps are taken to reverse the wedge-shaped toe deformation). The foot functions best as a barefoot, that is, when the heel and forefoot are completely level, and the toes are allowed to flex, extend, and spread.

Myth #3
Foot problems and musculoskeletal problems (such as osteoarthritis) are just a natural part of the human aging process.

Myth Dispelled
It is often heard “I can’t run/walk/stand any more. It’s because I’m getting old.” Foot and musculoskeletal problems are astoundingly common on our modern society. But in fact, they are NOT a natural part of the aging process. Rigid footwear, for reasons explained above, plays a much bigger role in physical degeneration than most people realize. And it certainly contributes more signficantly to foot problems than does the aging process. Remember, in societies that do not use rigid footwear, people don’t suffer nearly the same rate of lower extremity arthritis and foot problems, even well into old age.

Myth #4
Athletic shoes, especially the expensive ones, are designed by physicists or engineers, and are built to optimize movement while maximizing both comfort and foot health.

Myth Dispelled
If only this were true. But the reality is that the shoe market is driven by what “looks good” on the shelf and will therefore sell. This is true not only of dress shoes, but also of athletic shoes. While comfort is considered by shoe designers, foot health is of bottom priority. Indeed, even when shoe designers are presented with findings that flat, wide shoes (widest at the ends of the toes) are optimal for foot function and health, they fail to incorporate this information into their designs, as such a style would be incongruous with the classic and fashionable shoe appearance (and therefore detemintal, they believe, to sales). Additionally, considerably more money can be charged for a shoe that boasts “arch support” or “motion control” than for a simple flat shoe. Take home message: the shoes that are touted to enhance athletic performance actually hinder it by altering natural foot shape and gait and causing foot problems.

Myth #5
“Flat” feet or high-arch feet are problematic. They must be managed with orthotics or other forms of arch support.

foot skeleton

Myth Dispelled
Contrary to popular belief, in most cases, the height or length of the foot arch is not the issue. People can have optimal stride with either a high or a low arch. What’s truly important, however, is the base of support. This support is naturally built into the foot, with the heel, forefoot, and evenly spaced toes serving as the ends of the arch. If this natural foot is able to walk without the confinement of narrow, rigid shoes, then external support devices, such as “arch support” insoles or orthotics are NOT required.

Myth #6
Once foot problems are in place (e.g., bunions, neuromas, osteoarthritis, etc), there’s no way to correct them except with surgery.

Myth Dispelled
Most foot and musculoskeletal problems can be treated WITHOUT surgery or pharmaceutical drugs. The approach simply involves returning the foot to its natural shape and allowing it to function in the way that nature intended. Correct Toes help to return the foot to its natural anatomical shape, thereby undoing the damage caused by poorly-designed footwear. Such a treatment approach is coservative and non-invasive and focuses on the underlying cause of dysfunction. In turn, this treatment model provides a long-term solution for those suffering from foot ailments.

Flat Feet

Flat feet, also known as pes valgus or pes planovalgus, is a health problem in which your foot lacks a normal arch when you are standing. The arch on your foot’s inside edge is the structure affected by this condition. Your entire foot, including your mid-foot, will touch the floor if you have flat feet. Flat feet is usually a painless condition, and it may be caused by traumatic injuries, age-related degenerative changes, and other factors. This condition may cause problems in your other lower extremity joints, including your ankles and knees.

Condition Information

Flat feet is among the most common foot problems affecting adults, and flat feet are considered normal in toddlers. This health problem occurs when the tendons that bind your foot together become loose. These tendons should tighten as you get older, and they help form your medial longitudinal foot arch. This tendon tightening occurs in most people by the age of three.

Flat feet may be painless in most adults, but this condition may lead to low back pain in certain individuals. If left unchecked, your flat feet may impair your ability to walk, climb stairs, and wear shoes, and this condition can interfere with the normal alignment of your legs. Flat feet can be flexible and floppy, or they can involve rigidity and lack of motion, depending on the underlying cause of this musculoskeletal health problem. You may develop a flat foot on one or both sides of your body.

Factors that may boost your risk for flat feet include:

  • Carrying excessive body weight
  • Traumatic foot or ankle injuries
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (about 50 percent of people with RA will develop flat feet)
  • Aging

Causes and Symptoms

Flat feet may be caused by numerous factors or other health problems. Possible causes of this foot condition include:

  • Neuromuscular disorders (e.g. cerebral palsy)
  • Conditions causing extremely flexible soft tissues
  • Tight Achilles tendons (also known as equinogenic flatfoot)
  • Tendon injury or illness

Flat feet may, in rare cases, be caused by a condition called tarsal coalition. Tarsal coalition occurs when two or more of your tarsal bones—the small bones near your ankle—grow or fuse. Tarsal coalition-related flat feet usually cause pain or discomfort.

Some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with flat feet include:

• Foot pain caused by long periods of standing
• Decreased ability to stand on your toes
• Aches in your heel or arch
• Swelling along your medial longitudinal arch
• Decreased ability to participate in certain sports or athletic activities

Treatment

Flat feet treatment depends on the cause of your condition, the symptoms you are experiencing, and the likelihood of your condition progressing. Supportive devices are often placed in your shoes early in the treatment course to help favorably position your foot arch and alleviate both your symptoms and the progression of your condition.

If your foot flattening is mild, less direct intervention may be necessary. Many people with flat feet benefit from exercises that return the big toes to their normal anatomical position — splayed away from the second toes. Proper toe orientation may be achieved with gentle stretches, use of a toe-spacer (such as Correct Toes), and the wearing of footwear that’s widest at the ends of the toes. A foot on a flat surface (without heel or toe elevation) and with splayed toes provides the basis of a strong arch, even if the arch is lower than what’s considered “normal.” For more information on natural arch support, see our article entitled “Arch Support.”

Stretching exercises for your Achilles tendon and calf muscles are a conservative treatment technique that may help improve flexibility in the back of your lower leg. Because dropping the back of your heel will increase the stretch on these structures, the effectiveness of your stretching program may be negated if you wear shoes that possess heel elevation, or a heel that is higher than your forefoot.

Wearing a shoe that possesses heel elevation may accelerate your foot deformity if you have equinogenic flat feet. Consider slowly and progressively lowering the back of your heel to help your posterior lower leg structures adjust. Try wearing low-heeled shoes for a while before switching to flats.

You may require surgery to lengthen your Achilles tendon if you are unable to achieve proper flexibility in your Achilles tendon and calf muscles. You should exhaust all conservative care methods before undergoing Achilles tendon-lengthening surgery.

–Dr. Ray McClanahan, DPM, Northwest Foot & Ankle

Interview with Dr. Robert Conenello

Dr. Robert Conenello is the President of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine and the Global Clinical Advisor for Special Olympics International. He’s also the founder of Orangetown Podiatry in New York, as well as a lecturer, surgeon, triathlete, and father. His additional impressive credentials can be found here.

How were you introduced to Correct Toes?
While attending The Gait Debate lectures, at The University of Virginia, Dr. Mark Cucuzzella introduced the audience to the benefits of the product. I had never seen Correct Toes before and honestly was a bit skeptical at first. I understood the philosophy but needed to be convinced.  Being a runner who utilizes natural running form I decided to try them out on myself. I was surprised at how comfortable they were at first try. The real “Aha” moment came when my foot actually touched the ground. My body’s natural spring felt engaged in a manner I had never felt before.

How do you use Correct Toes in your practice? Does using the product affect your overall treatment approach?
I educate the patient to not only what their pathology is but why they have it. Correct Toes addresses the WHY!

What results have you seen in your patients using the product? Which types of patients have benefited the most?
Patients state that they feel the benefits of the product immediately. I find that patients with forefoot pathology…hammertoes, neuromas, and metatarsalgia…benefit the most. I do see the benefit of a stronger more efficient foot that is obtained through the use of Correct Toes. Patients with a more “natural” foot strike are less likely to develop overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis, medial tibial stress syndrome and Achilles tendonitis.

What feedback have you gotten from your patients about the natural foot care approach?
Patients love that they are taking an active role in their recovery from injury. Once they understand the benefits of the product they are more likely to continue in a path of positive foot health.

Many healthcare providers (e.g., chiropractors, physical therapists, naturopaths, acupuncturists, and bodyworkers) are using Correct Toes in their practices. Do you see a role for Correct Toes (and its associated natural foot care treatment approach) in sports podiatry? How about in general podiatry?
There is an obvious paradigm shift in shoe gear and training philosophies for today’s athlete. Most progressive thinking sports podiatrists embrace these challenges. Correct Toes’ simple application and sound principles offer the practitioner a useful tool when dealing with their patient population.