By Coach KB
How many of you, men included, would want to wear a corset every day? Sure, maybe every once in a great while for a very *special* occasion, but Every. Single. Day??? We stopped wearing corsets regularly a long time ago… They are impractical and unhealthy. You can’t breathe properly in a corset and they can permanently alter the structure of your ribcage if worn long-term. And they are UNCOMFORTABLE! Why has this same realization not been made with our shoes?!!
Every single day we lace up, binding the bones in our feet much like we bound our ribcage in corsets. That visual is the easy comparison, but really the problem is not our shoelaces; instead, imagine having to squeeze your body into a corset that has already been laced up. This is what we are doing when we put our shoes on. Every day we squeeze our feet into shoes shaped for fashion and not function (yes, even your running shoes!). Where corsets take away breath, shoes take away circulation. Where corsets alter the bone structure of our torso, shoes alter the bone structure of our feet. Permanently. And often painfully.
Unfortunately, the problems don’t just stop with plantar fasciitis, bunions, bone spurs, neuromas, hammer-toes, and general non-descript “foot pain.” Our feet are our foundation. With their narrow toe boxes and higher heels (yes, even men’s shoes), modern shoes alter the way we are designed to walk, which changes the way our knees and hips move. Up from there our back has to compensate to keep up with our feet, knees, and pelvis, which carries over into our shoulders and neck. See where this is going? What if the answer to all our aches and pains could be resolved from simply from retraining our feet?
I don’t want to sound like a zealot but, if you think about it, it makes so much sense. Sadly, if you go see a specialist for knee pain you will likely only get recommendations for things to do or not do with your knee, completely disregarding our body as a non-compartmentalized system. Even if you see a specialist for actual foot pain, the easy recommendation is orthotics, because they can temporarily reduce pain, but do not actually improve the function of the foot; they are just another way to keep your feet bound into one position. Imagine putting your leg in a soft, padded cast every day that limits your leg's full range of motion. Would your leg get stronger? (No) Then why would we think the same for our feet?
Anatomy fact: The human body has 206 bones. 52 of them are in our feet, which also have 66 joints. Compare this to only 8 leg bones (4 each leg). We know we need to exercise our legs, so with more bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissue in our feet, why do we leave them out of the fun?!
I swear it is not a doom-and-gloom scenario. Here is a total sales pitch that I 100% do not feel bad making because I am a believer in this product and its developer, Dr. Ray McLanahan, DPM (who also happens to be a local PDXer!). And, let me get real… I work with many of you in a physically demanding environment. I do not want your movement to be limited by pain! I want your time at POINT to feel good so you can feel good all day every day doing the activities you love. Everyone is happier when we are pain-free and physically unlimited.
Here is what I have found over my months of using Correct Toes® (follow the link to see what they are):
I have been using Correct Toes since mid-July to restore alignment and proper function to my feet with a lot of success. And it has only cost me $65 and ZERO appointments in a clinic that I don’t have time for. Additionally, I don’t have to do any extra “exercises” on top of what I am already doing; all I have to do is wear them when I am doing my normal things… making dinner, working out, getting the mail, etc. As a small business owner short on time to do any extra tasks during the day, this is huge!
Luckily, during my 14 years in the education profession I was never been big on high-heels at work, although I spent *a few* weekend nights in my early 20’s in some pointy-toed heels that are definitely NOT on Dr. McLanahan’s “approved” shoe list! And when I was “a runner” I was an early-adopter of the minimal running shoe technology, so admittedly I am much better off than most people. My biggest issue is that for 32 years I have crammed my feet into soccer shoes, which are specifically designed to be small and slender for better ball control. This means my pinky and ring toe were curled in and under. The most annoying side effect I have experienced is cold feet, even in summertime. Since wearing Correct Toes I have noticed improved circulation, which is invaluable given some of my favorite outdoor activities involving cold rivers and mountain snow. Additionally, I haven’t noticed getting foot cramps since I began wearing them, which used to happen in bed sometimes after soccer games. Most importantly, I have noticed my pinky and ring toes are much straighter and less smooshed against my other toes. If you have ever heard how important your pinky toe is for balance, I am psyched about the implications this has for my performance the more I practice.
In terms of how it feels to wear them, I mean… I notice them but I really like the way they feel because I know they are doing good things for my feet. When I take them off, in addition to noticing my improved toe structure and alignment, the place I “feel” it the most is in my calves. I can’t really describe it well but they just feel “light,” like floating clouds or something.
Bottom line: $65 is well worth the price of improved function, decreased pain, NO appointments, and NO extra PT exercises. Pick your pair up at POINT. The awesome thing about Dr. McLanahan’s distribution model is that we don’t have to retail them for more than he sells them for in his clinic or online. We have sample sizes to try on to ensure the best fit.
Full-disclosure: You will probably have to start out wearing these barefoot or in big comfy socks or slippers around the house since you won’t be able to fit them in your current shoes. After awhile, you will want to invest in a pair of more natural foot-shaped shoes. You can check out our Favs on our website or on Dr. McLanahan’s recommended shoe list. So, yes… it will eventually be more than $65, but we all need new shoes each year anyway, and it is still less than orthotics and co-pays would be, so I don’t really count this since it is a purchase you would be making anyway.
Here are some additional resources for transitioning to natural-movement style shoes:
Pie Footwear - a locally owned store in PDX that sells zero-drop minimal shoes.
Northwest Foot and Ankle - Dr. Ray McLanahan's clinic. You can also get minimal shoes here.
Whole Body Barefoot - a book by Katy Bowman that outlines how to transition to minimal footwear
Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief - another book by Katy Bowman that gives you exercises to strengthen and mobilize your feet. It's a great companion to Whole Body Barefoot.
Comment with any questions or let us know what success you've had with your Correct Toes.