Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Correct Toes:Initial Review- Solutions for Problem Running Feet?

Nicole, one of my training buddies when I am in Park City, has been testing the Correct Toes spacers I found in the Altra Running booth at Outdoor Retailer. 
Nicole is a competitive runner qualified for the Boston Marathon who has a "top tapper" running style and partially as a result of this suffers from several foot problems. Her running background is at the end of the article. Nicole has kindly provided this guest initial review of the  Correct Toes.

"Given my long history of foot problems, I was very intrigued when my friend Sam brought me a pair of Correct Toes to test from Outdoor Retailer.  The packaging proclaims they can “prevent and cure foot problems without surgery, orthotics, or medication.”  My foot problems started with a bunion on the big toe of my left foot about ten years ago.  Three years ago, I developed a second metatarsal stress fracture, also in my left foot.  After recovering from the fracture, I began having problems with plantar fasciitis in my right foot, more than likely as a result of switching to shoes with too much stability to prevent further fractures.  During an interval workout at the local track, I landed incorrectly and damaged the joint capsule in the exact same spot I had the stress fracture.  

For the past two years, I’ve had on and off pain, swelling, and numbness in this area.  About six months ago, I noticed the toe next to it was starting to atrophy.  Finally, a bunion developed on the little toe of my left foot as well.  Clearly, Correct Toes has its work cut out for it.  I laughed a bit at the “before” illustration of a foot in the incorrect position on the box.  My left foot makes the foot in the drawing look perfect.  I’m not looking for a miracle, but if Correct Toes can provide me with any relief, I’m willing to give them a shot.

  Upon removing the product from the box, my first impression was that they look like the toe spacers one would use for a pedicure.  However, after further inspection, the design makes great sense- separating the toes will allow them to become stronger and alleviate or prevent biomechanical deficiencies.  In addition to separating the toes, Correct Toes also surrounds them and stays in place as you walk and during sleep.  The flexible silicone really allows them to fit feet of any shape. 

  I assumed there would be some discomfort involved in wearing them.  I was pleasantly surprised to find them comfortable from the first time I wore them.  As instructed, I used them for an hour the first day.  On the second day, I wore them all night (note: the packaging recommends only adding an hour per day of use.)  They didn’t irritate me or cause pain.  I quickly forgot I was wearing them and slept as normal.  When I woke up the next morning and removed the Correct Toes, I discovered there were still spaces between my toes.  Several hours later, I went to put on my running shoes and there was still a bit of space between my toes.  I’ve continued to wear them every night and have also been wearing them around the house.  

  After using Correct Toes for a week, I’m optimistic.  Even after such a short amount of time, my toes seem to be getting stronger and more flexible.  The pain I typically experience in my second toe has subsided.  Although the packaging warns that one might experience soreness in other muscles as you begin using them, I haven’t experienced anything out of the ordinary. The results so far have motivated me to continue using Correct Toes and I look forward to reporting my results. 

Nicole's Running Background:

I started running 10 years ago in an effort to get in shape.  I didn’t begin racing until five years ago after deciding to run a half marathon with my sister.  I ran my first half in 2:04.  Later that year, I ran my first marathon in 4:19.  I continued to race, primarily in half marathons until moving to Utah from Minnesota in 2007.  I refused to race for two years because the altitude and hills slowed my times significantly and I assumed I would never surpass my half PR (1:54) under these conditions.  Fortunately, I met up with fellow runners Sam and Eddie who showed me the “way” of speed and hill training.  I began doing regular intervals and tempo runs on the local track and eventually learned to love trail running as well.  In 2009, I ran a 3:37 at the St. George Marathon (Boston qualifier.)  Last Spring, I set a new PR at the Salt Lake City Half with a time of 1:39.  I’m currently training for Boston.  My winter training plan consists of intervals on the track on Tuesday nights (usually 400s and 800s), tempo runs on the track on Thursday nights, and long runs outside on the weekends.  I run other days of the week at an easy pace, primarily on the track.  Unfortunately, the track is 8 laps to the mile and running all those corners has aggravated my many foot problems. "

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