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Yoga For Your Toes? Believe It.

Stop — hammer toe! No, really. Stop hammer toe. This bent-toed foot condition isn't so sexy to talk about, but it's sandal season, so why not, eh? Snug shoes, high heels, and narrow kicks can force the toes to bend inward, which in turn shrinks the muscles of the foot. Over time, the toes can bend permanently.

The best way to avoid this condition is to wear sensible shoes — more on this here — but if you favor fashion over orthopedics, exercises can help prevent hammer toe, too. (For instance, try to pick up a towel using your toes.) There are also a bunch of toe-focused foot exercisers out there, including Profoot Flex-Tastic ($9.99). The idea is to stretch your toes every day, much as you'd do yoga for the rest of your body, to realign toes. Goofy gimmick or brilliant idea? For my thoughts,


Flex-Tastic is similar to the widely advertised YogaToes, but at $10, it's one fifth of the price. Although I haven't tried YogaToes, I'd probably recommend Flex-Tastic simply because it stretches the toes while being more affordable. Putting them on can be a little bit tricky, because the one-size-fits-all aligners are fairly large. (I wear a size 8 shoe, and they slipped off from time to time — so if you have petite feet, these might not work for you.) Once they're on, they gently stretch your toes without you needing to do any special exercises; they need to be worn only five minutes at a time, but I like to wear them while watching old movies.

I don't see any huge cosmetic improvements, but after a long day of hoofing it, Flex-Tastic does make my feet feel better, and I've had fewer foot cramps. Even though they look pretty goofy, I don't mind wearing them, especially if the regular stretching can keep my feet looking decent and feeling limber. Insert your own "please, hammer toe, don't hurt 'em" joke as you see fit.

Join The Conversation
cocomademoiselle cocomademoiselle 8 years
The MC Hammer joke...Brilliant!
Susanna Susanna 8 years
I don't think foam toe-separators provide enough resistance to really help. They're pretty flimsy (the ones I've seen anyway).
valleydancer04 valleydancer04 8 years
I'm wondering if foam toe-separaters (like the ones you wear to paint your toe-nails) would kind of serve the same purpose?
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 8 years
Maybe I will try the Yoga Toes... :ponder:
cdelaney cdelaney 8 years
Love my Yoga Toes!
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
I've been fairly obsessed with getting some Yoga Toes since I started participating in the Breast Cancer 3-Day. After an 18 mile walk, my feet were killing me and these sounded like heaven. But for the money, I haven't been able to justify it. Perhaps these cheaper ones are the solution to my woes.
tatsauce tatsauce 8 years
Ooh I need this! I think it helps after your toes are squished in narrow heels. My dad could've benefitted from this when he used to wear cowboy boots all the time!
yoiebear yoiebear 8 years
I have been using YogaToes for more than a year now and love them. After walking around Disney World all day, I actually fell asleep in them (woke in the morning with them on the floor). They really do help relax the feet and toes. I don't know about the Flex-Tastic exercisers, but YogaToes come in different sizes and have different sized spaces to fit between the toes. Truly, they are some of the best money I've ever spent.
Beauty Beauty 8 years
mlmoreno47, you can buy them at most drugstores, AFAIK. We don't have CVS in San Francisco, but I've seen them at Walgreens, Rite Aid, etc.
jelibeann jelibeann 8 years
i get the worst foot cramps (often WHILE doing yoga...), so if this can help relieve those, i'm in...i'd go so far as buying Yoga Toes if they fit better
Merlin713 Merlin713 8 years
If you already have bunions this will not make them go away! My mom just had surgery for the last time on her second foot. No way would a product like this erase that. Surgery was needed -- my mom's case isn't even as bad as it can get. Bottom line - wear shoes that fit and don't overdo it with the high heels.
mlmoreno47 mlmoreno47 8 years
Where would I get these? CVS, Rite Aid?
emososays17 emososays17 8 years
I would definitely get this. Not only are my feet constantly in pain from running and ridiculous foot wear but I did ballet for years and years and never bothered to stretch my feet like I was told, ouch!
Beauty Beauty 8 years
I'm all about avoiding surgery, too, so I figure it can't hurt to stretch my toes now and then. The NYMag story that's linked up there is really interesting if you're curious about how our gait changes because of the shoes we wear.
SalescoopSarah SalescoopSarah 8 years
When I first read the title I thought, 'Really? Do we have to exercise our toes now?' But it all makes sense. Looking down at my feet I see how it has suffered from my high heels, too narrow wedges and snug flats. It won't be a bad idea after all to give it some stretch and pull so that they won't end up looking like the feet in cosmetic surgery signs that we see on the subways. Interesting post!
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