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Several months ago, Dr. McClanahan, a podiatrist in Oregon had offered up his Correct Toes product for me to try.  In addition to using the product, I decided to make a full-time switch to completely minimalist shoes at work as well.  That meant bucking the trend of wearing dressy shoes in a very conservative region for medical attire. Though my zero drop timberland black and brown dress shoes were definitely not your typical "classy" dress shoe, they were also only "close enough" to minimalist standards of footwear. Nonetheless, I was ready to go more natural with shoegear at work.
     For at-work shoes, I decided to go with solid black Crocs most days and occasionally wear brown Stems, both of which meet the criteria of allowing and promoting natural foot health. (See the links section for the criteria of choosing a shoe.)  I have been wearing the correct toes approximately 60-80% of the time (including sleeping, running, working), and using a shoe with my 3 specifications 100% of the time. This was very liberating for me, because I was able to "go minimal" at work as well as play, and finally wear shoes corresponding to natural foot function at all times. The crocs and stems were also the only shoes I had that I was physically able to fit in with the correct toes.
    I have to say, I was very skeptical of the correct toes.  There are other "bracing" products on the market, such as yoga toes and flextastic.  Patients seem not to have success with them, but those same patients also continue to wear terrible shoes.  Yoga toes and flextastic are meant to be worn just at the end of the day and never in shoes, but the main feature of the correct toes is that you are supposed to wear them at all times, so I was quite interested to see what they could do.
    The first xray above shows my foot in late August of this year; on that day I was taking an xray to familiarize myself with the system at my new job.  At that point, I had been wearing minimal shoes running for years, but I still had casual shoes that did not meet specifications, and my dress shoes were still relatively narrow in the toebox, but much better than the high-heeled, tapered toebox shoes ("classy") I had used in the past in our podiatry school clinics.  My foot may have felt pretty healthy at the time of the xray, but look at the bunion deformity and look how my toes fit the shape of a modern shoe, similar to the picture in the header of this website.
    Recently, when I remembered I had taken an xray of my foot a few months ago before using the correct toes, I decided to take another to see if there was any measurable progress.  So, after almost 4 months of using minimal shoes 100% of the time, and using the Correct Toes product 75% of the time, this is what the foot looks like now:   

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    This is really an astounding change for 4 months!  The bunion deformity is decreased and the toes are more rectus (straight) and appear to have freed themselves from the influence of a modern, tapered-toebox shoe.  Even the metatarsus adductus angle (metatarsal bones pointing inward) seems lessened, though I haven't  confirmed this by drawing out the angles. I don't know if my eyes are playing tricks, but my arch seems less cavus as well.
    Because of the combined influence of the correct toes and the switch to wearing minimal shoes full-time, I can't say what contributed more to the positive changes.  I can say, though, that I have been wearing minimal casual and running shoes for 2+years, and the bunion and cavus deformities still looked pretty significant 4 months ago.  The correct toes seemed to have helped me strengthen my intrinsics with the toes in a corrected position.  
    Here's a comparison:  when I do short sprint workouts (200 meter or less) I wear one of two pairs of shoes.  One is my traditional cross country racing waffle, which I have run in for years.  Those shoes are very minimal (zero heel drop, minimal to no cushioning) but have a significantly tapered toebox.  The other is my vibram five fingers.  After a hard sprint workout in the VFFs, I can feel a good post-workout soreness in the foot intrinsics, which I have never felt in any other shoe.  Like the correct toes, the VFFs hold the toes themselves in a more natural, rectus position (they way they probably would've developed without the influence of modern shoes).  Holding the toes in this position may better allow for the proper development of those intrinsic foot/toe muscles (versus doing exercises, using minimal shoes without that bracing).  So far, the correct toes seem to be an invaluble tool for regaining natural foot health and function in people who have helped deform their feet with modern shoegear. I'll continue to keep a critical eye on them and report back in the future!

Check the correct toes out for yourself on Dr. McClanahan's website:
https://nwfootankle.com/correct-toes

 


Comments

12/28/2011 20:33

Hi Dr. Claire,

I am thrilled to see the straightening of your toes on x-ray, and believe the better foot position, coupled with your greater intrinsic muscle strength will translate into healthy running for year to come.
Thank you for sharing your experience.
Happy Healthful Running!
Ray McClanahan

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Peter
09/04/2012 14:18

Wow! Very fascinating! Would be great if you had an xray of your feet i a couple of years time after using minimalist footwear and correct toes on a consistent basis. That is amazing after 4 months I have picked up a pair myself and was only able to manage 20 minutes on the first day but am going to build this up, along with my minimalist footwear. I hope to make the transition to VFF soon also.

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11/10/2012 10:21

This is wonderful!! I found your page via the CorrectToes Blog. I love my Correct Toes and regularly recommend them to my patients. This image really speaks to the effectiveness of Correct Toes but also to improving foot health altogether with your approach of wearing zero drop shoes with a wider toe box all the time. Thank you for this, and congratulations to you and your feet :)

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12/19/2012 06:58

Thanks, Leigh!!

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12/14/2012 13:35

It's great to actually see the difference on X-ray, thank you for posting. My patients have found your website quite helpful and motivating. thanks again keep up the great work and keep us posted.

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Dennis
12/19/2012 06:59

Thanks for reading!!

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Jack Loveday
12/22/2012 23:52

Dr Claire, this is very interesting. Have you considered now not wearing the correct toes for a period of time - to test if there is any lasting adaptation effect?

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frank john
01/22/2013 12:36

I would like to but a pair of correct toes spacers. How can i do so and how much does it cost. I live in Toronto Canada.

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05/21/2013 10:10

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't those x-ray pretty much identical? I don't see any difference at all...

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Mike A
05/29/2013 20:04

Paul, you're wrong. The x-rays appear similar but the 2nd x-ray clearly shows that the distal phalange of the great toe (the tip) has straightened.

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05/29/2013 20:17

You're absolutely right, I didn't look close enough.

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Ashley
06/11/2013 20:42

If you look at the bones of the 2-3 toes that are in the foot they are also spaced more. Which is necessary to spread the foot out back to the desired triangle shape wider at the toes than the ball of foot. Again this was only 4 months. If I can wear mine for four months see a similar result after 20 some odd years of damage I will be happy.

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06/19/2013 08:15

One can see, if one expands the images, that the foot although the same foot in both photos, is rotated differently in each picture. The dissimilar positioning in the two x-rays is emphasized by the difference in positioning of the medial ankle protrusion. DIlute to maintain identical place.come t of the foot in the x-rAy ma,June I Oates any apparel t differences in the bony structures. Scientific method, anyone?

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06/19/2013 08:46

Can't figure out how to retract a statement so must try to correct last couple of sentences. Should read: failure to maintain identical foot position could lead to inaccurate interpretation of purported changes in the bony structures of the foot.
Please forgive the typos, due to a faulty auto correct app.
Jerry Ward

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07/16/2013 14:24

The results are clearly visible, I hope the therapy will do the same to me.

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Mh
12/06/2013 06:09

I have less fat in my toes (for want of a better expression) after wearing very pointy heeled shoes. It was a bit of a shock that a week of wearing the shoes could change the physical appearance of my toes so drastically. I'm thinking will this 'correct toe' product possibly straighten the structure but because of their design make my toes even thinner. It's not a good or natural look. Any advice?

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David
02/25/2014 22:22

It would be nice to get an update on this. It's now been a bit over 2 years since the post. A new X-ray would be interesting to see.

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Aida
04/28/2014 11:41

Hello,

I am not sure what to think or believe in. About the xrays. Xrays have to be taken standing and not with a foot up in the air.
Second, how do we know the second xray wasnot taken right after taking off the correct toes. We know that toes stay in place for a while espacially if you did not put them on the ground for the xray. The second xray should be taken at the end of a day with the correct toes and standing. Could you please do that so we can really compare before and after? Thank you!

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Aida
04/28/2014 11:51

Hello,

2 things: an xray has to be done standing and not with foot in the air.
Second may be that second xray was taken right after u took thcorrect toes off, we know that our toes will stay in place like that for a whileespacially if you did not stand on them.
It would be good to have an after xray a day after a day without the correct to be able to compare better.

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Dennis Claire
05/04/2014 13:36

Aida, Glad you are skeptical. I always am. I am a podiatric surgeon who always orders xrays weightbearing. I did do these xrays myself, weightbearing. The foot was not suspended in the air in the first shot. The first shot was actually me trying to get the hang of my xray machine at my place of employment at the time. The second xray was indeed immediately after I took the correct toes off, which I did mention in the blog. I really think there should be a controlled study on this device, but anectdotally, I have had many patients relieve foot pain with intrinsic foot muscle exercises and use of the correct toes. In reality, many of them have ditched supportive shoes/orthotics, and resolved plantar fasciosis, neuromas and bunions. Much of this may be due to the shoegear choice as well!

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Asia
05/14/2014 03:48

Hi,
I am using correct toes for couple of months (three or four, I think) together with vivo barefoot shoes. Recently I'm beginning to feel some pain in the bone of my big toe. I don;t know the name of the bone but it's the one that grows bigger to the side of the foot, the one that is always visible it narrow shoes (the inner sides of the feet). So, that's where I feel pain. Additionally for about two weeks I see a red spot on the skin on top of my foot, on that bone. I don't know where to go and who to ask. Living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands... Thanks for any information.

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