Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Holding hands with your feet?

Hallux valgus
Hallux valgus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I've had a bunion on my right foot as long as I can remember.  My dad has bunions, my aunt has bunions.  I thought it was just a family thing.  As a teen I really didn't notice it much and even in college I just kind of put up with the pain when it came - usually when I'd wear the wrong shoes, etc.  As I got older the pain came more frequently and I started to notice it was getting bigger.

As you can see in this photo from Wikipedia the bones of that big toe are turned in toward the other toes instead of straight and there is a "bony anomaly"  - the term for a big bump that feels like bone.

So I decided I needed to do something to help it.  So I got one of these:

 
It's pretty clear in the picture. It's a metal brace with a pad that wraps around the big toe, a pad at the bunion area and then a strap that you tighten to pull that big toe away from the other toes

I put it on when I climbed into bed thinking I'd wear the thing all night long.  About 30 minutes later I'd rip the thing off.  Not only was it just generally uncomfortable, the hook that holds the stretching strap dug into the top of my foot.  Not good.







So later I saw an ad somewhere for these:

 



A bit softer because they're gel, they're pricey at $30-$40 a pair. But, I ordered them.  They were much better but still a bit too tough and hard to wear all night long.  These are still a great option for me after I've worn shoes with a tighter toe box.

I found them cheaper now on Amazon. Click here to get them for $13 instead of $40!

Here's a post by Katy Bowman titled "Yoga Toes". (click here)






Little did I know that stretching your toes in this was (not just the big toe) is REALLY good for your feet.  Because our feet are typically all crammed into shoes most days, our toes rarely get a chance to stretch out and "be free!"

Ideally your toes should be able to work just as independently as your fingers do, but obviously since we don't use our feet in the same way as our hands that doesn't happen.  But that doesn't mean we should just settle for no movement at all.

So if you're not ready to invest in some gel toe separators you can do this little exercise every day to help stretch those tootsies!  And it's easy.  And you don't need any equipment except yourself.

What is it?  Hold hands with your feet!  Intertwine your fingers with your toes just like you're holding hands with your foot and hold for a few minutes.  This is great to do after a warm (or cold) foot soak.  Do double duty (and save some time if needed) by sitting cross legged on the floor and holding hands with both feet at once.

Obviously you can't hold this all night while you're sleeping but try it a few times a day and especially after you've worn shoes for a while.  It'll feel great and you'll get use to the "weirdness" of it pretty quickly.

Want more toe stretching exercises?  This alignment snack called Toes and Calves from Katy will do the trick! (Click here)

Enjoy!


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7 comments:

  1. thanks for the post. there are a few other toe spreaders that you can use while walking, or some even while wearing shoes. and yup, as you noted they are pricey. i like joy-a-toes, there are also correct-toes.
    once your feet get used to them it is nice to wear them for extended periods. i find that wearing them while moving/exercising helps my toes find their integrity, and really find their alignment. i've pretty much eliminated my bunion. but when i get lazy, it starts to return. it's a practice of "loving vigilance"

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    1. Are you truly saying that your bunion is going away? I just noticed i am getting one and I am a tennis player and don't wish to stop playing and now seeing how bad your feet can get with a bunion has me terrified. I like wearing open shoes.....

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    2. I've been pretty intentionally working on my bunion now for 2 years and while it's still there it's SO much better. My research does seem to indicate that bunions can go away with hard work but most of what has become habit in our walking, moving, etc., probably contributes to it more than we even know. I have NO pain anymore though, even though I can still see the "bump". :)

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  2. Well done, Annette! I love doing holding hands with our feet with children. It always gives them a laugh. The Happy Feet socks are a good option for night time, especially in the winter.

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  3. Thanks ladies. Danielle- my next post is on the socks. I just got a pair to try - had to take them off overnight though because my feet always get hot but otherwise they felt great! :)

    Alix - I'll check out the other two you mentioned too. Thanks!

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  4. My pinkie toe curls under and in. It has started making my shoes fit tighter as I age even though I have a narrow foot. I try to hold my toe straight when I think of it, but it's just too much trouble to concentrate on, walk, and function on other things at one time! Could this possibly be adding to my feet/back problems? Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. You bet it can be contributing to your back and foot problems. And I do have some suggestions - in fact, I'll write a whole post of ideas for you! :)

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