By Soji James, CPT, CSCS
Photo credit: Amazon
These toe separators work to soothe aching feet and strengthen weak toes by returning them to a more natural alignment. They slide on easily and have a comfortable fit. While the overall process takes time, the YogaToe Gems do a great job of alleviating foot and ankle pain and improving toe flexibility/mobility.
If you are looking for an overnight fix, this is the wrong place to end your search. This involves patience and consistent usage. You have to remember to use them. They initially can be a bit painful or uncomfortable, but this is to be expected when you are training any body part. Some users complain that they can be a little too big/thick, but I have large feet so they fit me perfectly.
The health of your feet dictates a lot. Mobile or naturally aligned toes equate to less pain, more balance, and enhanced performance. In addition to my feet feeling better, they simply look better. With this small investment, you could experience a huge payoff if you are willing to be both patient and consistent. I would recommend buying them if you are someone who has struggled with foot problems and is looking for a change. When you combine the use of YogaToes with a combination of strengthening and myofascial techniques, the results will surprise you.
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When we get out of bed, our feet are the first things that hit the ground each morning. These fundamental pillars allow us to perform grand feats such as run marathons, hike mountains, perform touchdown dances in end zones, and play above the rim on basketball courts. Even though they do so much for us daily, most people often neglect taking care of their feet. Especially when it comes to their toes.
Shoes may have been one of the most liberating yet restrictive creations of all time. When we are initially born, our toes are splayed out wide, resulting in optimal balance and muscle recruitment in the feet. As we grow older, we jam our feet into shoes with tapered toe boxes, elevated heels, and essentially subject our feet to torture daily. Most shoes don’t leave us feeling like we are walking on a cloud like the Adidas ultra boost. Under these circumstances, our toes begin to get stiff and lose their function. The big toe, for example, is responsible for contributing to the arch of the foot, forward-facing movement/walking mechanics, and shock absorption. If you are an avid runner, this might be alarming. Turns out the best running exercise to increase your athleticism may simply involve more self-care of the wheels you have.
Changes in joint integrity at the toes are detrimental to effective movement and lead to a myriad of problems. This dysfunction can present itself in the form of issues like foot or ankle pain, plantar fasciitis, bunions, and hammertoes. Problems at the feet usually end up becoming problems with the rest of the body because our system is interdependent. Don’t be surprised if your foot problem goes on to become a knee problem or leaves you with tight hips that need stretching. If you are looking for a non-invasive way to open up the toes and restore some movement quality, then toe separators may be a solid solution. For more serious foot problems, I would recommend seeing a doctor. Otherwise, YogaToes could be beneficial with consistent use and patience.
The YogaToes Gems are toe separators that are made with hypoallergenic, medical-grade gel. I decided to try them for 30 days to see what all the hype was about. With over 2,500 reviews on Amazon at 4.5 stars, I figured that people had to be on to something here. Upon their arrival, I dove right into using them. With a little water, they easily fit between my toes. It’s recommended that you start out using them for 15 minutes at a time. I was a bit of a rebel and decided on using them for an hour a day to start. You can’t wear them inside of shoes (you need to be barefoot), so I made sure I found blocks of time and planned accordingly. Initially, they felt a bit uncomfortable, but I adjusted to that relatively quickly. Soon the discomfort was replaced with waves of relief. As an individual who spends most of the day on my feet, I began to look forward to the release from my YogaToes sessions. It didn’t just feel good, I began to also experience benefits that extended beyond a feel-good stretch.
When I take them off, I do feel as if I have a better grip on the ground and am more balanced upon immediate usage. This usually lasts the rest of the night after using them. Over time as my toes have begun to stretch, I have found that force production in movements like my deadlift and squat have improved. Besides this, my balance has improved overall and the benefits have extended long after I take off the YogaToes. I feel more in control on the basketball court and with other changes of direction/lateral movements. In the past, after a game of hoops, my ankles would be sore for a day or two after I played. My feet feel stronger, and I don’t experience that same ankle pain. I even feel much more “bouncy” and athletic when I’m playing. While I’m still in the process of using them, I understood that this would be a marathon and not a sprint when I purchased them. I’ve also combined self-myofascial release techniques and strengthening exercises with the use of this product. I believe that this well-rounded approach has helped me see even better results. I’m extremely excited to keep this positive change going and might even break out some sandals this summer with the improved look of my feet.