What are the toe foams used for?
Posted: Nov 17, 2022
The toe foams are a range of tubular foam products that are commonly used by podiatrists for a range of problems that can affect the big and smaller toes. The foams are made from a polyurethane foam fashioned into a tube with a fabric backing on the inside. The foams typically come in a larger length so they can be cut down into the size that is required. They also typically come in multiple diameter sizes so that they can be matched to the size of the toe that it is required for. They also come in a single thickness around the entire diameter of the foam and also as a double thickness one what has a double thickness of foam on one side. These foams do appear to be somewhat bulky, and concern is often raised about how it can fit around the toe and then put the foot into the shoe. Even though the foams are bulky, they are soft and do compress down quite a bit, so will allow the foot to fit inside the shoe. Unfortunately, due to the softer nature of these, they do deteriorate and do need to be replaced from time to time. There are less bulky alternatives to the toe foams like the silicone tube pads, but the advantage that the toe foams have is that they can breath and let air circulate between the toes, which has hygiene implications. With the silicone type pads, they do not let that air circulate.
Toe foams are commonly used, for example, after a corn between the toes has been debrided by a podiatrist. A corn in between the toes is typically caused by too much pressure between the toes, maybe from wearing shoes that are too tight. This increased pressure causes the skin to become thicker and the corn develops. A podiatrist can be pretty good at removing the corn, but if the pressure that causes the corn in the first place (ie the tight shoes) are still there, then there is a good chance that the corn is going to come back again. One way to help that is to use one of the toe foams around one of the toes and that will help with the pressure between the toes. The double thickness types are typically used here with the double thickness going between the toes. These toe foams are also really good for blisters. Blisters are due to friction, so can develop on the toes with friction between the shoe and the toe. If the toe is surrounded by a toe foam, then the foam can absorb that friction and it is not transferred to the skin. This can be very helpful in treating and preventing blisters on the toes. These foams can also be helpful with hygiene problems between the toes, especially with the build up of things like toe jam. The foam will separate the toes and let air circulate and they can also help absorb the accumulation of moisture and prevent its build up.
Craig Payne is a University lecturer, runner, cynic, researcher, skeptic, forum admin, woo basher, clinician, rabble-rouser, blogger and a dad.