Curly toes are common. The fact is, they can be a right royal pain in the butt when they lead to blisters. It’s the pinky toe that most often twists and sits under the next one, leading to pinch blisters. Not too long ago, I made a quick video for someone to show them how to hold their curly toe straight. So today, I thought I’d share it with you.
Pros & cons of taping toes straight
Strapping your toe to correct its posture might not be as simple and beneficial as it first 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. However, most can. 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.
The straightening of crooked toes with strapping tape is only ever a temporary straightening. Therefore, 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 a curly toe straight, you are putting ligaments on stretch. It might feel fine for 10 seconds, but it might not feel so comfortable after half an hour.
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 to hold your curly toe straight?
This one really comes down to personal preference. It’s important to understand that a 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.
If you have a hammertoe or plantar plate tear, Kevin Kirby demonstrates the taping technique for this on the second toe.