When I started running more seriously almost two years ago now, I noticed that I favored some shoes over others because of the way they fit. Many running shoes rubbed the top of the large joint at the base of my big toe, but only on the left foot. I didn’t think much of it–I just assumed I was slightly asymmetrical and had a larger knuckle on that toe. For this reason, I’ve always preferred shoes that are wide and roomy in the forefoot.
This has limited, somewhat, the number of shoes I can comfortably wear. I also noticed over time, that shoes which were once comfortable now caused a little tenderness in that spot I mentioned.
I’ve made it clear on this blog that injury prevention is a top priority of mine. I never considered this an injury, but it became apparent that this issue needed attention. That spot had grown increasingly irritated, and was certainly not resolving itself.
In looking at my feet, I noticed that the big toe on my left foot turned outward toward the other toes more than the big toe on the right. I learned that this deformity is known as hallux valgus, and often leads to bunions. It turns out that the sensitive spot on my foot is a dorsal bunion, and it has probably been developing for years. In this picture, you can see how my feet differ, and you can even see the red area where my bunion is:
There are products you can buy to help this problem, and one of them is called Correct Toes. It’s a toe spacer device made of soft medical-grade silicone. This device separates all of the toes on one foot, but when I bought mine, I cut off all of the spacers but the first two, because I didn’t see any need for separating my pinky toe and the one next to it. Here’s a picture so you can see what I’m talking about:
As you can see by comparing this picture to the other one, the position of my big toe on my left more closely resembles my right. After wearing this for several days (during runs and during the day doing normal stuff in addition to when I sleep) I can say that the pain in my bunion is almost gone. Shoes which once caused a problem in that spot do not hurt now. You can still see some redness in that area, but I expect that spot will always be a bit tender after years of living with this condition. I’m hoping that after I wear this thing for a while, my left big toe will stay in the new position on its own. Already, I had to kind of wiggle my toes around a little to get them to adopt the position you see in the first photo.
Anyway, I highly recommend this product if you have a similar issue with your feet.