They’re not just for pedicures anymore. Toe spreaders/spacers or special toe socks are designed to help straighten and stretch toes. They lightly separate the toes in a comfortable position, letting tendons and ligaments stretch.
The idea is to wear toe spacers daily until your toes eventually straighten (but not all day). By realigning your toes, spacers relieve foot pain and correct related issues.
Feet with toes in proper form gain stability and a sense of where your body is in space. This in turn helps with standing, balancing, walking and running.
Stretching the tendons and ligaments that control toe movement also can increase your range of motion, which reduces strain on other joints in your feet.
Also, when your toes are straight, your piggies are less likely to get bunions, corns and calluses — all issues when bent toes rub together or press into the sides of your shoes.
Thermal-photography research even revealed a noticeable improvement in blood circulation and increase in temperature of the toes after just an hour of wearing toe spreaders.
Spacing the toes can also benefit your arches.
When your foundation is supported by stable toes, you are better able to activate your arch. With the toes in proper position, foot muscles are stronger and support a healthy arch.
Of course, since toe spreaders push your toes in a new direction, you may notice pain or tightness. Read the instructions, and don’t try to do too much too soon.
Keeping them on longer won’t necessarily speed up the process or miraculously fix major issues. Just remember to listen to your body, and talk to your physician if you are unsure.