Why use a toe protector
Why use a toe protector to a party?
Having to stop dancing halfway through a party due to aching feet is never pleasant. Unfortunately, fancy dress shoes – especially those worn by women – are seldom designed to be as comfortable as possible. Combine a brand new narrow, high-heeled pointy shoe with several hours of mingling and dancing and you have a recipe for foot-disaster.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to keep your feet comfy throughout the night. Toe protectors can be used to relieve pressure from your toes, while some extra protection in the other end of the shoe can prevent blistering and destroyed pantyhose. Depending on the design of the shoe, it may also be possible to add a cushioning sole.
Party shoes based on the flip-flop design can easily cause blistering and discomfort between the big toe and its neighbour, and a special toe protector developed specifically for the flip-flop modell is therefore recommended. For more information, see the section about flip-flops below.
Why use a toe protector? To avoid having to leave the party by the stroke of midnight.
Why use a toe protector to prevent problems?
In many cases, people do not get a toe protector until they already have a problem with their feet. This is unfortunate, since so many foot problems can be prevented. If you for instance know that you will be hiking for a week or dancing all night, get a toe protector and put in on in advance. This way you can prevent blisters and abrasions from appearing in the first place, instead of trying to treat them when they are already there.
Why use a toe protector during sports and outdoor activities?
Many sports and outdoor activities can be hard on our feet, and nobody wants to get a fun game of football ruined by aching feet or having to quite a hike in advance due to severe blistering. The key here is planning – put your toe protector on in advance. It can also be a good idea to bring some extra protection along to be able to quickly bolster any area of your feet that feels sore.
Note: Cyclists commonly use a special type of toe protector to keep their feet warm in cold weather. It is like a small “cap” for the front part of your feet that will act as a wind stopper without preventing your toes from breathing. If full shoe covers turn your foot into a stinky swampland when biking, this type of toe protector is an excellent alternative.
Why use a toe protector in flip-flops?
Flip-flops – also known as slip-slaps, jandals, pluggers, toesies and thongs – consist of a flat shoe held loosely on the foot by a Y-shaped strap that passes between the first (big) and second toes and then continues around either side of the foot. These shoes do not secure the ankle, so the only thing keeping them from falling off your foot is those straps between your first and second toe.
Anyone who has ever worn a flip-flop knows that it can easily cause abrasions between the first and second toe, chiefly due to friction. You can prevent this from happening by using a suitable toe protector. Today, toe protectors specially designed to fit flip-flops are available from several different manufacturers and it is possible to find models that are virtually invisible as long as the shoe is on the foot. For some flip-flops, a translucent toe protector is the most aesthetically pleasing choice, while others look better with a coloured toe protector.
Why use a toe protector when wearing flip-flops? To protect your first and second toe!
Why use a toe protector during a pedicure session?
There are special toe protectors that can be placed between the toes to keep them separated during a pedicure session. Having the toes separated is convenient during several stages of a pedicure, including the part where nail polish or nail strengtheners are applied. Using ordinary cotton balls to separate the toes is not recommended since strains of cotton can end up in the nail polish, thus ruining the appearance of the polished nail. To protectors made from foam, silicone and similar materials are much safer.
Why use a toe protector when suffering from bunions / hallux valgus / hallux abducto-valgus?
A bunion is a structural anomaly of the bones and the joint located between the foot and the toe. The bone or tissue becomes enlarged and the affected toe may turn in toward the next toe. The condition can be very painful. Sometimes the surrounding tissue becomes swollen and tender, and continuous chafing may also cause skin damage and infected ulcers.
Other terms used for this condition is hallux valgus and hallux abducto-valgus. Hallux refers to the big toe, valgus refers to the abnormal angulation of the big toe, and abductus/abucto refers to the abnormal inward leaning of the big toe towards the second toe.
Bunions are mostly genetic. If certain supportive structures in your feet are positioned in a particular way, you are more likely to suffer from bunions. Flat feet, excessively flexible ligaments, abnormal bone structure, and certain neurological abnormalities are all examples of conditions that can increase the risk of bunions.
So, why use a toe protector when suffering from this type of problem? A toe protector will not cure the problem, but it can make the condition less painful and protect your skin from being torn and infected. A soft and flexible gel toe protector can for instance be used to cushion and comfort tender and sensitive skin and tissue while waiting for surgery. Today it is possible to find several different toe protectors on the market designed specifically to mitigate the problems associated with bunions, including bunion toe spacers, bunion regulators, bunion splints and bunions cushions.
Why use a toe protector when suffering from hammer toe or mallet toe?
A hammer toe is a deformity of the proximal interphalangeal joint of the second, third or fourth toe. The affected toe becomes permanently bent – like a hammer. If the problem is located in the distal interphalangeal joint instead of the proximal one, the condition is known as mallet toe.
A hammer or mallet toe is normally the result of prolonged and continuous use of shoes that force the toe into a bent position. Over time, the toe muscles will shorten and the result is a hammer or mallet toe. Hammer and mallet toes can however also be caused by certain medical conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, diabetes and stroke.
Surgery is one solution, but in milder cases you may be able to stretch out your muscles again using a special training regiment prescribed by your doctor.
So, why use a toe protector when suffering from these problems? The awkward angle of the toe can make walking uncomfortable, and you may also suffer from chafed skin and damaged tissue since it can be difficult to find a shoe with enough space for the hammer or mallet toe. To protect your feet while waiting for surgery or for the stretching to remedy the problem, you can use to a toe protector to make walking more comfortable and to protect your skin and underlying tissue from abrasions.
Why use a toe protector when suffering from toe corns / clavus /clavi / callus?
A toe corn, also known as clavus in singular and clavi in plural, is a callus of dead skin that appears on the toe. The dorsal surface of our toes is especially prone to toe corns. A toe corn has an easily recognizable round shape and consist of thickened skin.
The corn is how the toe protects itself against pressure, and is therefore essentially a good thing. However, if that pressure continues, the corn will get thicker and thicker and can become painful. An ulcer (abscess) can develop and become infected. If not treated, the infection may spread, causing serious health problems.
Toe corns are caused by pressure, especially in combination with friction, and can be the result of a long row of things, including improper footwear, toe deformities or gait abnormalities. The proper thing to do is therefore to use a toe protector to relieve the area from pressure. Why use a toe protector instead of corn paint or corn plasters? Because corn paint and similar remedies consist of chemicals that will ‘eat away’ the thickened skin. The corn will disappear for while, but if you don’t take action against the actual pressure problem the corn will just reappear, forcing you to buy yet another bottle of corn paint. Also, you have deprived your toe of its natural protection from pressure. It should also be noted that corn paints and similar chemicals tend to attack all skin cells, not just the ones that make up your toe corn.
In otherwise healthy people, corn paint can be an excellent way of getting rid of a toe corn, but only if you also do something about the underlying pressure problem, e.g. by getting more comfortable shoes and/or using a toe protector.