Ok that title sounds a little medieval.:)
So I’m trying to do everything I can to help my feet along in their healing. I’m already feeling them spread, along with my feet. My toes, scrunched in shoes and asleep for so long, are starting to move more, and wake up. They do still feel a little stiff. So I’ve been looking into ways to help “stretch” them more. So I did a little research on “toe spreaders.”
The first thing I saw was Yoga Toes.
The first thing I thought of when I saw this was PEDICURE SPREADERS! (if you’re a girl, you’ll get what I mean). Yoga toes are made of hard plastic that you wear when you’re chilling at home, or maybe even sleeping, that spread your toes gently wider.
But, what if you want to spread your toes while you are moving? Or just don’t like hard plastic? Well…
Joy a Toes
I found the Joy a Toes on a yoga website. Same principle as Yoga Toes, but Joy a Toes are made of a soft gel material. They are also designed to be worn during movement, such as during your yoga practice. I also like that you’re not “trapping” your toes into a contraption either.
Because of their height, however, I’m not sure if they would fit in a shoe, however. So then we have…
Correct Toes are a toe spreading device invented by a podiatrist, Ray McClanahan. Correct Toes are made of a softer plastic that is MEANT to be worn during movement (in fact, weight-bearing activities help them to work), and they are meant to be worn inside of shoes as well. Another advantage to Correct Toes is that it comes with shims, so you can gradually increase the spread of the “toe gap” over time. Here’s a site that speaks more anatomically about how toe spreaders work.
Official Correct Toes website: http://nwfootankle.com
So do you need toe spreaders?
If you’re already running/walking barefoot in minimalist footwear, probably not. These activities are already working to spread your feet and toes. You could get toe spreaders if you want to give your toes more of a stretch. It feels good!
For feet that have been smushed into shoes for years, spreading a little will probably feel good (after you get used to the “stretching” feeling, that is.) They say you should start with wearing them for short periods of time only. My mom got them and said they HURT at first!
BUT toe spreaders won’t do you much good if you wear them but continue to smush your feet into narrow shoes. Kind of like working out but still eating at McDonald’s.
I was thinking/hoping that wearing toe spreaders might help my big toe, which is sort of bent inwards (to conform to narrow shoes) but then I noticed that the bend starts at the toe “knuckle” which would be unaffected by the toe spacers (they are spreading at the toe base).
I don’t have bunions or other foot deformations, but supposedly toe spreaders can help heal bunions, or at least, alleviate the pain caused by them. This advice is anecdotal, however.
Here’s the nutshell: wear toe spreaders for a nice stretch, but don’t expect miracle foot realignment.