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Tour of the Foot: Toes

Continuing our Tour of the Foot series, this month we’re taking a look at toes! You probably don’t think about them much unless you stub them on something, but toes are an important part of the foot – especially when it comes to footwear. Remember Mom making you wiggle your big toe inside those new shoes to see if they were big enough? Besides shoe fit considerations, toes are prone to injuries and health conditions that can be prevented with the right footwear and precautions.

How Toes Work

Humans are plantigrade animals, which means we walk on the soles of our feet rather than on our toes, like dogs and cats do. As such, the toes are less important to the stepping motion when we walk then the heel and ball of the foot, but we do use our toes to help push off as we step. And toes are very important for maintaining balance. To support your body properly, your toes need to be able to spread out like your hand. So it is very important not to constrict your toes with ill-fitting shoes.

Your choice of footwear makes a big difference. Each toe consists of three bones, except for the big toe which only has two (like your thumb), and they need plenty of space. Many people who wear the wrong shoes end up having a big toe that is pushed inward like you see in the illustration below. 

tour of the foot: toes

And it's not just pointy-toe fashion shoes that squeeze your toes. Even sports shoes like Nike sneakers that are supposedly good for your health have a very narrow toe box to make your foot look slim and sexy. But the foot is not designed to look slim and narrow. Your foot is designed to be wide, and your toes are designed to be spread out like an open hand. 

At Z-CoiL, we believe a sexy foot is a healthy foot. To keep your foot healthy, you need to avoid shoes that constrict your toes and instead look for shoes that have a wide and roomy toe box.

Toe Injuries and Ailments

Your toes are some of the most sensitive parts of your body, with an extremely high density of nerve endings. This is why stubbing your toe is so painful: besides straining the many muscles and ligaments in the toes, it stimulates all those pain receptors. Usually, though, this pain is temporary; but long-lasting pain after a stubbed toe is a sign that you may have fractured it, which could require medical treatment like splinting.

Other common toe conditions include hammer toe and bunions. Hammer toe is an abnormal contraction of the toes making them resemble a hammer. It involves a partial or complete dislocation of the toe joints and can be quite painful. Hammer toe is usually caused by shoes that don’t fit well, and can be resolved through physical therapy and wearing properly fitted footwear. Bunions, on the other hand, are an inflammation of the main joint at the base of the big toe, and the exact causes are unclear. It’s thought that improperly-fitted shoes are a factor for bunions as well, and treatment often includes proper footwear and/or cushioned orthotics, but surgery is sometimes required.

Avoiding Toe Problems

Avoiding a problem is always better than having to solve it, and that’s where Z-CoiLs come in. The wide, spacious toe box of Z-CoiL therapeutic footwear is designed to give your toes enough room to splay naturally, providing a more comfortable experience and helping you to avoid issues like hammer toe, bunions, and can even help reduce the incidence of ingrown toenails. The extra-cushioned sole under the forefoot helps protect the toes from stress and impact, and we have several protective toe cap boots to protect your toes in dangerous environments.

Take care of your toes: prevent painful conditions and expensive treatments with properly-fitted footwear and shoes that reduce impact and support your whole foot, from heel-strike to toe-off. That’s exactly what we designed Z-CoiLs to do, so try a pair Risk Free for 30 Days! Your toes will thank you.