Here are some frequently asked questions about Correct Toes:
How can Correct Toes help me?
With Correct Toes, you can:
- Correct many common foot and leg problems
- Increase athletic performance and decrease injuries
- Improve strength and flexibility of the toes and feet
- Enhance balance and stability
Are my Correct Toes left/right specific?
Correct Toes are reversible! Each individual silicone Correct Toe spacer is identically casted, they can be used on the right or left foot interchangeably regardless of the ‘Correcttoes.com’ marking.
What conditions can Correct Toes help?
Regular use of Correct Toes in shoes that are sufficiently wide, lightweight, and flexible can, over time, correct a wide variety of foot problems. Examples of conditions treated are: bunions, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, heel pain or plantar fasciosis, corns, neuromas, capsulitis, lower leg pain, and runner’s knee. Amazingly, no orthotics, surgeries, or medications are required!
Why do Correct Toes work?
Correct Toes spread the toes such that they re-approximate natural anatomy. Why is this important? We spend a lifetime in footwear that is too narrow at the ends of the toes. The result is that our foot shape actually changes such that the toes become scrunched together. But having spread toes is essential to proper gait. Correct Toes work in a similar way to how braces work for teeth (orthodontia). Correct Toes place the toes into optimal alignment, and slowly and progressively, the foot architecture changes. The muscles and other tissues of the foot and body are able to adapt and strengthen accordingly. Ultimately, the goal is to return the foot to its natural shape!
How do I use Correct Toes?
Correct Toes are placed in between the toes. They are designed to be worn either barefoot, in wide slippers, or in shoes. Important note: the shoes MUST be wide enough to accommodate the toes with Correct Toes in place. (See the diagram. The shoe on the left is too narrow. The shoe on the right is wide enough). The best results are seen when people incorporate them into their daily weight-bearing activities. Also, it is important to incorporate Correct Toes SLOWLY and progressively. We recommend wearing them for a half-hour the first day and then increasing the time by approximately 30 minutes each day. This will allow your body to adjust to the changes. You may experience some soreness at first, as would be expected when muscles are being utilized in a novel way. Just like with any new activity, the soreness should subside and your muscles will end up stronger and more capable than before.
Is it that simple: Can I just use Correct Toes and be cured?
We wish it were that simple! It’s not quite that easy, but it’s not complicated either. The whole idea of Correct Toes is to position the toes in the correct way. Going along with this, it is also vital to utilize shoes that are completely flat, lightweight, flexible, and sufficiently wide in the toe box, so that the foot can function like a barefoot inside the shoe. This type of footwear must be used on a very regular basis. Unfortunately, such footwear can be difficult to find. For some suggested models, see our shoe list. Following the above plan, you can expect to see positive results.
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 above). 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.
What are the different sizes of Correct Toes? How do I figure out my size?
Correct Toes come in three sizes: SMALL, MEDIUM, and LARGE. Unlike many other foot products, the Correct Toes size you require does not depend on your shoe size. Instead, the Correct Toes size best suited for your individual toes depends on the width of your feet, the width of your individual toes, and the degree to which your toes are already splayed, or spread. Your Correct Toes toe-spacing appliance should not "bunch" between your toes—this would be a sign that your Correct Toes toe spacers are too large. Your toe spacers should not pinch your toes, either. Toe spacers that pinch your toes are too small. Correct Toes can be further customized for a wide variety of feet. Most women and many men find the MEDIUM size most beneficial and adaptable to their feet, though this is not universally true. Some people may need to start out in a smaller size and move up to a larger size as foot adaptations take place. In most cases, we find that the LARGE size works with individuals who wear a men's size 11.5/12 shoe and higher.
If you think you might be in-between sizes, you can send us (CustomerService@nwfootankle.com) a picture of your feet taken while standing next to a ruler (to show the length and width of your foot). This image can give us a more accurate picture of which size is most appropriate for you.
Download a .pdf printout to estimate your size. Click this link to download: Correct Toes Sizing Guide
Please contact us if you have further questions about Correct Toes sizing or customization.
How are Correct Toes different than, say, a pedicure set?
A pedicure set is designed for just that – a pedicure. It spaces the toes so that, while the person is seated, nail polish can be applied. Pedicure sets are not intended as a therapeutic device. It spaces the toes to an arbitrarily wide position for temporary use. Correct Toes, on the other hand, actually place each toe in the CORRECT position, both in relation to the ground and to each other. After a break-in period, this position can be held for a long time, and doing so will benefit the user. Also, Correct Toes are designed and intended for use in footwear, during daily and athletic activities. This would certainly not be comfortable or safe with a pedicure set.
How are Correct Toes different from other toe-spacing products, like Yoga Toes?
All other toe-spacing products on the market are designed for use while barefoot and while sitting (non-weight-bearing). They are bulky, and it would therefore be impossible to use them while standing, walking, or in shoes. Correct Toes are the ONLY product that is specifically designed to be worn in footwear and during weight-bearing activity. This is essential for attaining the best possible results in making actual changes to the foot and alleviating foot problems. The material is light-weight, soft, comfortable, and durable. Also, Correct Toes do not arbitrarily space the toes. Correct Toes were specifically designed by a podiatrist (Dr. Ray McClanahan) to space the toes in their optimal positions, both in relation to the ground and to each other. For more information, see our “Advantages” information.
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.
Can I walk or run in Correct Toes?
Yes! Having spread toes while running and walking is great for the feet and whole body. It also feels wonderful. It is VERY IMPORTANT that the shoe is wide enough in the toe box to incorporate Correct Toes without pinching or rubbing. To test your shoe, take the liner out and stand on it. If any part of the foot hangs over the liner, then these shoes will not work with Correct Toes.
Are Correct Toes customizable?
Yes! Here are a few examples: (Click here for our illustrated modification chart.)
1. Correct Toes are designed to allow you to progressively increase the space between your toes. This is accomplished by using shims (small pieces of EAV material) in the spaces between the 1st & 2nd toes and the 4th & 5th. You can use 1, 2, or 3 shims in each, depending on your personal needs. As always, any changes should be implemented slowly and progressively, so that your body has ample time to adjust.
2. It is possible to decrease the space between your fourth and fifth toes. This may be useful if: the 5th toe (“pinky” toe) is pushed out too far (this occasionally happens for some types of feet), or to use Correct Toes in shoes that are almost, but not quite, wide enough. To accomplish this, start by cutting ½ of the small interspace along the vertical plane. This will diminish the space between the last 2 toes. If necessary, the whole 4th interspace can be removed. Correct Toes will still work quite well.
3. Need a bit more space for your toes? Simply use a hole-punch on the first and/or fourth interspace. This increases the stretchiness of Correct Toes.
Also see Modification video.
Should I wear Correct Toes with my orthotics?
Correct Toes eliminate the need for conventional orthotics in most people by enabling your foot arch (i.e., your medial longitudinal arch) to support itself. (Read more about natural arch support). In general, we DO NOT recommend wearing Correct Toes in combination with orthotics; we instead recommend weaning yourself off orthotics—slowly and progressively—when introducing Correct Toes. Correct Toes are, by definition, an orthotic, though conventional custom orthotics are placed under your foot arch (instead of between your toes) and attempt to alter foot position by using an unnatural methodology (i.e., by propping up your foot arch).
In other words, custom arch orthotics are not natural in any way. In fact, they violate the natural anatomy of your foot’s arches by artificially lifting them and placing material under them in a manner never seen in nature or in human-made structures, such as arch bridges. They may, initially, help gain a more natural foot position, but they do so artificially and the results are temporary. Our toe orthotic, Correct Toes, supports your foot’s arches in the exact manner nature intended, by placing your toes in their ideal natural alignment. So here we have two different types of orthotics attempting to do the same thing: one violates the natural anatomy of the foot, the other provides natural alignment to the foot and toes, and thus balance and support. Correct Toes are particularly effective in enabling optimal foot health when used in combination with a completely flat shoe surface (i.e., when they are worn in a shoe that possesses no heel elevation, toe spring, or motion control features).
While most people do not need orthotics if they use Correct Toes in footwear that allows proper toe splay, there are a few rare individuals who, even with Correct Toes and proper shoes, may not be able to restore their own arch structures simply by using their foot naturally. These few individuals may, in fact, benefit from Correct Toes AND orthotics. In even rarer cases, where the combination of Correct Toes and orthotics does not restore foot arch structures, a surgical procedure on the ankle may be warranted. Of course, Correct Toes should be worn after this surgery to help maintain proper toe and foot alignment.
Is there anyone who should NOT use Correct Toes?
Anyone with diabetes or with diminished sensation of the feet should NOT use Correct Toes. Also, anyone with diminished circulation (peripheral arterial disease or “PAD”) should NOT use Correct Toes. If for any reason you are uncertain about whether you should use Correct Toes, you should consult your holistically-minded healthcare provider.
What are shims and how do I add them to my Correct Toes?
Shims are used for individuals rehabbing a bunion or Tailor’s bunion that need additional space between their 1st and 2nd toes or 4th and 5th toes. The cavity in the large and small pylons of Correct Toes can be modified to add material and create additional spacing. Typically the material that we add is from footwear—an old sock liner or any other thick, soft foam will work best. To insert the shim into Correct Toes, first cut a small square or rectangle of foam. Thread a pair of tweezers through the cavity opening. Place the cut piece of foam in the tweezers and slide the tweezers back through the cavity so that the foam is inserted into the cavity (see video for placement). This modification is suggested after 3-4 months of Correct Toes use. Shim material is not provided with the purchase of Correct Toes.
In his 18 years as a podiatrist, Dr. Ray McClanahan has learned that most foot problems can be corr...