Do you ask a lot of your toes? Have you ever put them at risk by going barefoot? Do you jam them into shoes that like to pinch them on occasion or all of the time? Give them a chance this Valentine’s Day and treat them to a roomy toe box.
Though walking barefoot has its benefits, allowing your toes to escape the confinements of everyday footwear and giving your feet a natural strengthening benefit, today’s toes and feet aren’t as hardy as those of our barefoot crazed ancestors. They’ve been protected from the environments for some 15,000 years and when exposed to nature may get cut, bruised or stubbed. With your toes being confined to footwear on a regular basis they aren’t as resilient to the forces of nature. The ground pressure forces may put undue stress on the balls of your feet (metatarsal heads), causing them to get inflamed or calloused. To prevent excessive pressure try to move your barefoot activities to more natural terrain such as grass or sand and stay off hard surfaces such as concrete or hardwood.
If you’re suffering from Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy, exposing your feet and toes to the environments may result in them getting infected, which may lead to amputation. Therefore it is always important to cover up, even when the allure of a barefoot beach walk or pool day is extremely tempting. Be sure to check your feet for cuts or bleeding at the end of every day, and seek immediate medical attention should you experience any signs of infection (redness or skin that feels warm to the touch).
Toes like freedom. They love to spread, but snug and restrictive footwear can cause them to develop callouses, corns, blisters or worse. They may end up overlapping or hammered (no, they don’t get tipsy), and in some cases they may even get turfed. Turf toe is where your toe gets jammed into the end of the shoe, causing the first metatarsal joint (or big toe joint) to be compressed, causing inflammation and pain. So how do you prevent your toes from experiencing any of the above?
Why Should I be concerned about space?
By giving your toes ample freedom in the toe box, as well as a thumb width of space between the longest toe and the end of your shoes you allow your toes to spread. This in turn helps to improve balance, reduces stress on the side of the nails (hence preventing ingrown nails), prevents toes from overlapping and reduces stress on your skin (therefore preventing corn and callous formation). This is not to say you should throw out all of your fancy, snazzy shoes. By all means, wear them. Just limit the time you spend in them to a few hours a week or special occasions.
Want to learn more about a specific foot problem you’re experiencing? Check out our nifty guide to foot pain solutions here. Click on your specific foot issue and learn more about symptoms, as well as treatment options. Have more questions, post them below or visit us in store at Foot Solutions.