February is coming to a close, which also means the end of Penguin Days at the Cincinnati Zoo. This Saturday is your last opportunity to enjoy half-off admission and march with the penguins, so if you’re looking for an opportunity to hang out with one of nature’s coolest animals (and check out the zoo’s various indoor exhibits) check it out.
Penguins, like many animals, have claws at the end of their toes, which help them gain traction on snow and ice. Humans aren’t supposed to have claws, but if you have claw toe the pain might make it difficult to enjoy the zoo’s penguin parade with your flightless bird companions. Fortunately, if your toes are still relatively flexible, a number of home remedies may help you alleviate your discomfort.
The most basic is simply finding a pair of footwear that fully accommodates your arcing digits. You want a broad, deep toe box with enough space at the front of the shoe for your toes to rest without scraping the top, front, or sides. This minimizes friction between toes and shoes, stopping corns and blisters before they start.
To provide a little extra protection, you can try over-the-counter pharmacy products such as gel caps, felt corn pads, toe splints, or other devices. You’re looking for something that will either straighten your toe out while it’s in your shoe (if your claw toe is still flexible) or cushion sensitive pressure points to prevent friction damage.
In the early stages, toe exercises can help strengthen muscles and make them more resistant to further deformity. Some easy ones to try: use your fingers to gently move and stretch your affected digits, pick up small objects with your feet, or use your toes to drag, curl, or crumple a small hand towel. These exercises can even be performed while you’re sitting and watching TV, so you have no excuse not to try!
Don’t let a toe deformity slow your march—at the first sign of a problem, claw your way down to Family Foot and Ankle Center. Our experienced podiatrists will devise a treatment plan that’s just right for your condition and situation. Give us a call at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572, or contact us online to set up an appointment today.