How To Hold A Toe Straight With Strapping

by Rebecca Rushton BSc(Pod)

Curly toes are common. They can be a royal pain in the butt when they lead to blisters. The pinky toe is a common one that often suffers pinch blisters. Bent over hammertoes can lead to blisters on the top of the toe, the tip of the toe and under the toenail

A while ago, I made a quick video for someone to show them how to strap their curly little toe to stop it from bending and sitting under the next one. I thought I’d share this with you today.

 

 

Pros & cons of taping toes straight

Strapping your toe to correct its posture might not be as simple and beneficial as it forst appears. Below is a discussion of the pros and cons so you can make an informed choice as to whether this is a good choice for your blister situation.

 

Flexible or fixed

Not every toe can be physically straightened. Most toes that sits in a bent or crooked position can be straightened if you get your fingers and unbend your toe. Sure, the toe will bounce back to its bent position as soon as you let go, but they can be straightened. Other toes can’t be. They have been bent for so long that the bones have remodelled and ligaments tightened to disallow that change of posture.

 

It’s temporary

Straightening crooked toes with strapping tape is only ever a temporary straightening. Don’t expect this to be permanent.

 

Straighter versus more comfortable

It's a fine line between exerting enough force to hold the toe in the corrected position, and minimising the tension on the tape so as for it to be comfortable. Remember, when you hold your crooked toe in a straighter position, you are putting ligaments on stretch. It might feel fine for 10 seconds, but it might not feel so comfortable after half an hour.

 

Tape tension

It’s tricky to know how much tension to put on the tape as you pull your toe into a straighter posture. As mentioned above, if it’s too tight, it’s uncomfortable. But ideally, for position’s sake, you over-straighten when applying the tape by exerting more pressure on the tape, because:

  • Your skin will be stretched
  • The tape will stretch over time (even rigid tape)
  • The tape will creep on the skin

 

Which strapping tape

This one really comes down to personal preference. A more flexible tape (Rock Tape, Kinesiology tape, Fixomull Stretch) might sit neater on your skin with less folds and creases as you twist it around your toe. And because it will stretch, it will be more comfortable, at the expense of how straight your toe sits. A more rigid tape (Leukoplast, paper tape) will be less likely to stretch and so more likely to hold your toe straighter for longer.

 

rigid and flexible strapping tapes
Brands of strapping tapes you can use on toes 

 

Hope this helps!





Rebecca Rushton BSc(Pod)
Rebecca Rushton BSc(Pod)

Author

Podiatrist, blister prone ex-hockey player, foot blister thought-leaderauthor and educator. Can’t cook. Loves test cricket.


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