How Using Toe Separators Can Help Your Overall Health

Our feet and toes are the only parts of our body that touch the ground, aiding in bearing our body weight and giving us support as we walk and run, according to a Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery study. Despite this important role, we tend to not give our toes as much attention and care as we do other body parts. Even when we do manage to hydrate and nourish them with foot soaks and lotion, our toes might still suffer from deformities and a loss of dexterity. The culprit? Modern footwear. Many shoes today tend to become narrower at the tip, jamming our toes together and causing them to deform as they adapt to this position (via Better Health Channel).

But take heart, there's a wellness tool that can help you restore your toes to their optimal shape without having to go shoeless. What your toes need the most, alongside regular foot soaks, are toe separators. Here's why.

Advantages of toe separators

Calling herself an avid supporter of toe separators, posture expert Ellie Burt told Glamour that these devices can help the wearer loosen up decades of stiffness in the toe area almost effortlessly. "Unlocking tension from the toes can be an absolute game changer in how the rest of the body operates and feels," she said.

Made from silicon, stretch fabric, or medical-grade gel material, toe separators slide over your toes and train them to spread apart. When used properly, they build stronger foot muscles, improve balance, reduce friction, and restore proper toe and foot alignment, according to MoveWell. Proper alignment of your toes, especially your big toe, is key to your foot stabilization and joint mobility (via Kinetic Health Chiropractic Clinic).

Toe separators can be used as a home spa treatment after engaging in strenuous physical activity. If you're new to using them, begin by wearing them for 30 minutes to an hour per day (via MoveWell). Once your toes have gotten used to them, you can begin to wear them overnight or even inside your shoes while going about your daily business.

How to buy toe separators

Not all toe separators are created equal. According to FOX31 Denver KDVR-TV, toe separators come in various varieties, including full-toe separators, triple-toe separators, and double-toe separators. On average, toe separators cost anywhere from $5 to more than $25. Because they can get dirty easily, make sure to wash your separators regularly with water and soap and dry them completely. Excess moisture can create an environment for mold and bacteria to grow.

While toe separators offer many benefits for the body as a whole, they are not a cure for all of your foot problems. They can aid in slowing down the development of structural deformities like bunions, orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Kenneth Jung told The Healthy. However, toe separators can't treat underlying ailments, such as arthritis. If you have a chronic foot problem, always consult your healthcare provider before trying toe separators or other wellness tools for your feet.