Yes, Toe Separators Can Help With Foot Pain!

April 5, 2022 • • foot carefoot pain
Yes, Toe Separators Can Help With Foot Pain!

Foot pain is a common complaint. Can toe separators ease the discomfort?

If you’ve ever had a pedicure, you’ve most likely experienced how toe separators work! Placed between your toes to help the polish dry and stay on your toenail, toe separators can be made from hard plastic, soft silicone, foam, or rubber. But can these simple devices also help with foot pain? Generally, toe separators can help your foot pain, but you first need to determine what is causing your discomfort.

What causes foot pain?

In many instances, your foot pain may be caused by your shoes. Most footwear isn’t made with enough room to let your toes stretch out. Instead, the muscles and joints of the toes are scrunched together for hours, leading to aches and pains. Fortunately, toe separators may help!

Inserting toe separators between your toes gently stretches those tight muscles and joints. Start by wearing the toe spacers without shoes for about five minutes a day before gradually working up to about 20 minutes per day. The toe separators can help realign your toes into their natural position. When your toes are aligned, your arches are stronger and able to withstand the pounding your feet take when you’re walking and running. If you feel any discomfort while wearing the toe spacers, you can take them off but know that it may take some time to get used to them.

Pain caused by blisters or calluses between toes can also find relief from toe separators. Some spacers come with adjustable bands that go across the toe. 

However, foot pain can also stem from several common conditions, such as bunions, hammertoes, and neuromas. These conditions result from structural abnormalities in the foot. Bunions, for example, are caused by a bony bump at the base of the big toe. Hammertoes are digits bent out of position at the middle joint. If the tissues around one of the nerves leading to the toe become scarred or thickened, you could suffer from a neuroma.

Toe separators are often advertised as a pain reducer for bunions. One study found that toe separators, along with custom insoles, alleviated pain in the study’s subjects. However, since both toe separators and insoles were used in that study, the toe separators may not have been the sole reason for the pain reduction. In another study, subjects reported less pain after using toe separators along with stretching exercises.

Although toe separators may provide some temporary pain relief, the devices are not a cure for anatomical abnormalities like bunions and hammertoes that have already formed. For those conditions, custom orthotics or other devices to support the foot tendons and arches can ease the pain and slow the progression of the condition. In some cases, surgery may be recommended for bunions.

With neuromas, the nerve between the ball of the foot bones (the metatarsal heads) is squeezed. Because the nerve is behind the toes, a separator will not treat the root cause. Neuromas are typically treated with pads or other orthotic devices.    

Used correctly, toe separators can temporarily reduce pain, as it stretches the muscles and joints of the toes. If the cause of your chronic foot pain is an underlying condition such as a bunion or hammertoe, you should see a podiatrist for a thorough evaluation and treatment.

Don’t live with foot pain

Chronic foot pain can interfere with your quality of life, making everyday tasks unbearable. The physicians at Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group will examine your feet, diagnose your condition, and prescribe a treatment plan that’s right for you. Contact us today for a consultation.

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Fill out the form below to reach Alamitos – Seal Beach Podiatry Group, or call Los Alamitos: (562) 203-6151 or Seal Beach: (562) 242-1559 for immediate assistance.

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