After long hours on your feet, it may be tempting to slip on a pair of toe separators to passively stretch your toes apart as you unwind. However, you might want to think twice. According to Dr. Thomas Novella, a podiatrist who works with professional dancers in New York City, there is no clinical proof that toe separators help fix bunions. “Bunions are not caused by the angle of the big toe at rest. They are caused by dynamic forces that snowball when you’re walking,” he says. “So you’re trying to do something at rest to fix a problem that occurs when walking. It’s apples and oranges.”
Rather than stretching the toes passively, which may weaken the muscles around the toes, Dr. Novella suggests seeing a podiatrist, physical therapist or orthopedist, who can recommend safe active stretches that strengthen those muscles.
Photo courtesy of Gaiam