Correct Toes FAQs

FAQ

When can I expect to see results?

Of course, it will be different for different people. It depends on many factors, such as a person’s age, how often Correct Toes are used, level of physical activity, how often appropriate footwear is worn, etc. Most people experience some relief right away, with continued positive results over many months. For architectural changes to take place, some time and dedication is required.  For instance, in attempting to reverse a bunion, SOME movement of the big toe will likely be visible within a few months. Further progressive changes will continue over many months or years. Ultimately, it is an investment in life-long good foot health!  Read More.

How long do I need to wear Correct Toes?

Think of it this way. It took a lifetime for your feet to conform to overly narrow footwear. Over many years, your foot shape changed. Subsequently, all the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues associated with standing, walking, running, etc adapted, or mal-adapted, to this slow change. It is certainly possible to un-do these negative changes, but it does not happen over night. Just as the negative changes took a long time to develop, so too will positive changes require some time. You should anticipate on wearing your Correct Toes for many years. Positive changes will occur sooner than that, but continued use will assure on-going natural foot health.

Where do I find shoes that work with Correct Toes?

This is a very important question! Unfortunately, almost all the footwear available on the market does not respect natural anatomy. In a natural foot, the widest part of the foot is at the ends of the toes, not at the ball. The trick to finding appropriate footwear is to make sure that the shoe is the same shape as your foot. The best way to test this is to pull the liner out of the shoe and stand on it. No part of your foot should hang over the liner. If it does, the shoe is too narrow. (See the diagram here). To help, we have compiled a list of shoes that are better than most. Always seek shoes that are completely flat, wide in the toe box, and flexible.  See also The Shoe Liner Test video for more information on proper shoe fit.

Visit our website for more information about Correct Toes.

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Correct Toes vs. other toe-spacing products

Female Studio Shot1. Correct Toes go beyond simply “spacing the toes.” It is podiatrist-designed product that places each toe in the correct anatomical position in relation to the ground and to one-another. It mimics the natural barefoot position that is commonly seen in people who go barefoot for most of their lives.
2. Correct toes are designed by a podiatric physician (a.k.a., foot doctor), Ray McClanahan, DPM. Dr. McClanahan is an expert in foot anatomy and human physiology. Furthermore, Correct Toes are clinically tested on hundreds of patients, with outstanding success.
3. Most toe-spacing products are to be worn only while barefoot. Correct Toes are designed to be worn in shoes during weight-bearing activity, such as running, walking, hiking, and standing. They can also be used barefoot around your home or when you are practicing yoga, tai chi, qigong, or other movement arts. Wearing Correct Toes frequently and while weight-bearing leads to the most effective results.
4. Correct Toes promote balance. This is incredibly useful in yoga practice and therapeutic for people with Parkinson’s Disease. It is also useful for senior citizens in preventing fatal falls—a common injury among the elderly.
5. Correct Toes are constructed of medical-grade silicone, which make them both flexible and highly durable. They are comfortable and built to last. Correct Toes is a top-quality product!
6. We believe in supporting our economy and our environment. Correct Toes are made in the USA, and the packaging is re-usable and recyclable.
7. When used according to package instructions, Correct Toes offer customers a method of permanently fixing their foot/ankle ailments, without having to resort to custom orthotics ($-hundreds) or surgery ($-thousands). Correct Toes are a tremendously reasonably-priced alternative.
For more information about Correct Toes please visit our website.

Crooked Toes

Crooked toes are a common health problem among Americans, and there are several crooked toe syndromes. What kind of crooked toe problem you have depends on the degree and direction of deviation in your affected toe’s joints. In some cases, your abnormal toe position is not permanent, and your toe may be realigned using conservative care techniques. Crooked toes are extremely rare in shoeless populations or groups of people who do not wear conventional footwear.

crooked toesCondition Information

Possible types of crooked toes include:

  1. Hammertoe: A hammertoe is a crooked toe that is flexed more than it should be at your first toe joint, or proximal interphalangeal joint. Hammertoes may affect any of your toes, and they often begin as mild deformities and become more severe over time. Hammertoes are usually flexible in the initial stages but may become rigid if they are not treated appropriately.
  2. Claw toe: A claw toe is a crooked toe that is flexed more than it should be at both your first (proximal interphalangeal) and second (distal interphalangeal) toe joints. If you have a claw toe, your involved toe may dig into the soles of your shoes, causing painful calluses to develop. This crooked toe problem usually gets worse without treatment and may cause irreversible deformities over time.
  3. Mallet toe: A mallet toe is a crooked toe that is flexed at your last toe joint (distal interphalangeal joint) only. The rest of your toe is straight. Mallet toe is commonly caused by shoes that are too tight in the toe box or shoes that possess high heels. The forces these shoes place on your feet cause unnatural bending of your toes.
  4. Adductovarus toe: Adductovarus toe is a crooked toe that tries to move under its adjacent toe. This toe problem is commonly seen in your fourth and fifth toes, and it is a direct result of wearing shoes with tapering toe boxes. This condition is seen to some degree in most shoe-wearing people. Unshod individuals—people who do not wear shoes or conventional footwear—do not experience this health problem.
  5. Curly toe: Curly toe is a crooked toe in which the most distal part of your toe—the toe segment located furthest away from your body—is flexed and curved to one side of your foot. Curly toes may be particularly common in newborns, and most curly toes spontaneously resolve before age six. In some cases, however, curly toes may cause pressure symptoms in shoe-wearing individuals later in life.

Causes and Symptoms

Inappropriate footwear is the leading cause of crooked toes. Footwear that possesses heel elevation, rigid soles, tapering toe boxes, and toe-spring may force your toes into unusual positions and encourage muscle or tendon imbalances in your feet and lower extremities. In some cases, crooked toes may be associated with past foot trauma. Genetics may play a role in this health problem in some individuals, too.

Some of the most frequently experienced symptoms associated with crooked toes include:

  • Toe pain or irritation when wearing shoes
  • A thickening of the skin between your toes, on the ball of your foot, or elsewhere
  • A burning sensation in your affected toe
  • Inflammation and redness
  • Toe contracture, or permanent toe shortening
  • Open sores

Treatment

You should visit a podiatrist or other appropriate healthcare professional if you are experiencing any of these crooked toe syndromes. Your physician can provide you with strategies to help reduce the progression of your crooked toe problem. The longer your crooked toe problem exists, the greater the likelihood it will become permanently rigid and require more extensive—and invasive—treatment, including surgery.

Physical therapy, toe joint manipulation, and stretching of the muscles and tendons surrounding your toes may provide some reduction of your deformity. Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization—Graston, gua sha—may also be helpful for this health purpose. Stretches that target your crooked toe problem involve both your intrinsic foot muscles and major foot flexor and extensor muscles and tendons in your lower leg.

You should avoid wearing shoes that possess heel elevation if you have crooked toes. High-heeled shoes, including most running shoes, will hasten the progression of your crooked toe, as this design feature creates and imbalance in your foot flexor and extensor muscles as well as the four layers of muscles within your foot. These intrinsic foot muscles help stabilize your toes during walking and standing.

Every attempt should be made to spread your toes when you are barefoot. A toe-spacing product, such as Correct Toes, can be worn inside certain shoes or with your bare feet to help re-approximate your toes to the correct anatomical position, strengthen the muscles and tendons that attach to your toes, and increase the stability of your forefoot.

Surgery, when required, is used to help straighten your crooked toe and balance the pull of tendons surrounding your toe. Pins or wires are sometimes required to keep your toe in its correct position while it is healing. Note that surgery may not provide a complete correction of your crooked toe, and your problem may return if you continue to use the footwear that contributed to your condition. Ask your podiatrist about the risks, benefits, and limitations of toe surgery to help resolve your crooked toe problem.

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

Cold Weather Footwear

Cold Weather Footwear-1It’s wintertime in the Northern Hemisphere, and for those living at northern latitudes, the cold weather is setting in. Keeping your feet and toes warm during the cold winter months is an important consideration, and so too is keeping your feet and toes healthy and pain-free. Winter is no time to forget natural foot health principles, and the footwear you use during these cold months should receive the same high scrutiny your warm weather footwear receives. In this post, we discuss some of the most important considerations for cold weather footwear and how you can stay injury-free this winter as you’re out and about.

Important Principles to Remember

The rules that govern healthy footwear apply equally to warm and cold weather shoes and boots, though it’s often more difficult to find foot-health positive winter footwear. To review, then, winter footwear should be completely flat from heel to toe, widest at the ends of your toes, flexible in the sole, and lightweight. The greater amount of shoe or boot material commonly included in winter footwear usually means increased weight. We encourage you to find the lightest possible winter footwear that still protects your feet from the elements. Lightweight footwear (whether it be summer or winter footwear) enables a more natural (i.e., low-joint-impact) gait.

The late Dr. William Rossi, a leading figure in the natural foot health movement, once stated that, “… a shoe has only two functions: as a nonintrusive, protective covering, and as an ornamental dressing. The moment a shoe assumes a therapeutic function for the average foot, the foot is in trouble.” A good winter boot or shoe can be just this (a nonintrusive and protective covering), as long as it allows your foot to function like a bare foot and does not alter the natural anatomical position of your toes.

Winter Footwear Considerations

A few hardy souls may be willing to use their warm weather minimalist footwear in cold conditions, but for most people, ensuring your feet are insulated from the cold—from both the air and the ground—is a key consideration when selecting cold weather footwear. The risk of frostbite on any exposed skin is real, and it can have a lasting effect on the sensory nerves in your affected area. Keeping a sufficient buffer between your foot and the frozen ground is important because a significant amount of body heat can be lost through your feet.

Your winter footwear must be wide enough to accommodate not only the width of your foot, but also the thickness of your socks. Many people prefer thicker, woolier socks in the cold winter months, and these socks can take up a significant amount of space within your shoe or boot. Some shoes and boots have an inner lining (fuzzy or otherwise), too, that takes up additional space within your shoe or boot and can squish your toes, so judge footwear width accordingly when you’re shopping for winter shoes or boots.

When selecting cold weather footwear, consider the shoe or boot’s upper, specifically whether it’s stretchy and flexible or stiff. A flexible upper allows more room for your toes to spread, which is an important advantage. A stiff upper can be okay too, as long as the width of the shoe or boot (at the ends of your toes) is sufficient to begin with. It’s important to avoid buying a narrow shoe or boot with a stiff upper, thinking the upper will loosen up or adjust over time—it won’t.

Most winter shoes and boots can be modified to create more toe room. One way to do this is to remove the liner. Removing the liner can significantly increase the amount of space within the shoe or boot for your foot and toes. In most cases, the sole alone will be thick enough to buffer heat loss from your soles. If, after removing the liner, your shoe or boot feels too loose or floppy around your heel, you can add a tongue pad to help take up some of the slack. Re-lacing your footwear is another simple and helpful modification that can increase toe room in your cold weather shoes or boots. Consider starting your laces a few eyelets higher up on your foot than normal, leaving the bottom one or two sets (closest to your toes) open. This modification reduces the pinch forces on your toes, allowing them more freedom within your shoe or boot’s toe box.

Consider using socks that keep your feet sufficiently warm but do not cause sweating. Toe socks—which can be used in combination with Correct Toes to help optimize foot health—are great winter socks. Conventional socks can be okay, too, but you need to stretch the seems around the toes to remove any tapering effect they might cause. If you wear slippers in the house, make sure these slippers are flat, widest at the ends of the toes, and flexible (not all slippers possess these important design features).

A final consideration when searching for healthy cold weather footwear is the liner test. Remove the footwear’s liner and stand on it (wearing your socks) to determine if your winter shoes and boots are truly foot-health positive. If any part of your foot or toes hang over the liner, the shoe or boot is too narrow for you.

Healthy Winter Footwear

When shopping for cold weather footwear, remember that the brand name of the shoe or boot is less important than the actual fit. Footwear brands that may be appropriate for cold weather situations include Ugg, Soft Star, and Crocs—it just depends on the model. Leming (soon to be Lems) is one of our favorite shoe companies and is coming out with a boot starting January 2013. We encourage you to contact us if you have found winter shoes or boots that work with Correct Toes or adhere to our natural foot health principles. We are always searching for new and better products to support your long-term foot health.

* January 2014 Update *

Lems has indeed launched their Boulder Boot. We find it to be an excellent cold-weather footwear option!