In some parts of the world, people consistently wear minimal footwear, either going barefoot or using flip-flops and sandals. A very small percentage of this population suffers from foot problems. In the industrialized world, however, where narrow and rigid footwear is the norm, the occurrence of foot, ankle, and musculoskeletal problems is substantially higher. What is the reason for this disparity?
Natural Foot Shape & Function
The human foot is designed such that the toes are spread and extended. This allows for optimal balance and stride. In societies where mainly flip-flops or sandals are used, foot integrity is maintained through life and foot problems are avoided. In industrialised societies however, the foot’s natural shape changes over time. The toes become elevated and pinched together, resulting in weakened flexor muscles combined with overly tight extensors. Subsequently, natural gait and balance are compromised. The main culprit is rigid footwear. The vast majority of footwear in the industrialised worldelevates the heel above the forefoot(ball of foot),bends the toes upward(known as toe spring), andsqueezes the toes together. Over time, this deforms the foot, leading to a host of foot problems, gait abnormalities, musculoskeletal pathologies.
The long-held conventional podiatric view is that the feet are inherently misshaped, and they need to be corrected with the use of orthotics or surgeries. Where these methods fail, pain is to be managed by anti-inflammatory drugs.Dr. Ray McClanahanis a podiatric physician and avid athlete who challenges this viewpoint. He has discovered, through extensive literature research and years of clinical practice, that the best way to treat most foot problems is by allowing the foot to function exactly as nature intended. Dr. Ray’s main approach with his patients is teaching about foot’s innate ability to walk and run with a perfect gait.
He demonstrates how most shoes on the market damage the foot shape, thereby compromising gait. He then shows how returning the feet to their natural shape eliminates existing foot problems and prevents new ones from arising. This is done using a Correct Toes spacer, which spreads the toes to their natural and correct position. This improves proprioception, which then allows the brain to better promote balance and optimal muscle function. Finally, Dr. Ray educates patients on choosing appropriate shoes that provide a flat surface and sufficient room for the toes to spread, thus allowing the gait to occur as nature intended. Clinical experience has shown again and again that returning the foot to its natural state treats most foot problems, and by extension, many musculoskeletal problems.
Examples of positive outcomes with the use of Dr. Ray’s Correct Toes:
1. Correction of: bunions, hallux limitus and rigidus, tailor’s bunions, corns, ingrown toenails, heel pain, plantar fasciosis, neuromas, capsulitis, lower leg pain, and runner’s knee. No surgery or medications required!
2. Better balance in athletes, Parkinson’s patients, and elderly.
3. Decreased injury rates in athletes, due to allowing the body to make better use of natural physiological adaptations that are hampered by current footwear available to athletes.
4. Increased performance in athletes (especially walkers and runners) by promoting foot positions that scientific studies have shown to have a 4 to 5% performance edge.
5. Improved strength and flexibility of the toes. This enhances proprioception, and subsequently the brain signals the body to move forward more naturally.
6. Less osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative arthritis), which currently plagues a majority of senior citizens, as well as a high percentage of the younger population.
Test this method for yourself. Correct Toes are to be worn between the toes in shoes that are wide enough to accommodate them. This type of orthopedically appropriate footwear -- completely flat, lightweight, flexible, and widest at the ends of the toes -- can be challenging to find.Test your shoeby removing the liner and standing on itwith your Correct Toes in place. No part of your foot should spread past the liner. If it does, the shoe is too narrow. Alternatively you can begin using your Correct Toes around your home without footwear, or in wide slippers, or in toe socks.