Making Overlapping Toe Separators – Part 2

This second version of a toe separator is a more complicated to make and apply. It uses a large or small ENGO oval, depending on the size of the toes. The idea is to pinch the patch into an upside down T where the base of the T goes between the two problem toes. The patch is stuck to your insole in a position where it keeps the two toes apart. The slippery surface of the ENGO patch will prevent rubbing and the upward base of the upside down T will keep one toe from going under the other toe.

Toe separator #2 on an insole

Toe separator #2 on an insole

How to Make Your Own Toe Separator # 2

Using a utility knife, score two cuts, about one inch apart on the backside of the patch. Make them only deep enough to cut through the paper backing – do not cut through the patch itself. Try to have the one-inch wide space in the middle of the patch. Make the width of the cuts wide enough so the folded separator will be tall enough to match the height of the toes it will go between. This is important – a separator used between middle toes will have to be taller than ones used for pinky toes. Men’s toes may also require taller separators. Using the tip of the knife, remove the one-inch strip. Fold the patch in half so the sticky sides match to each other. The two end of the cut backing should meet in the middle. You can now open the two ends and cut the patch into the needed shape based on where the patch will go on the insole and the length of your toes.

Separator # 2 Height and Length

Toe separator between toes with Injinji socks

Toe separator between toes with Injinji socks

Separators for pinky toes need to be shorter in height and length than ones for the middle toes. You may have to make more than one separator based on the size you need to find the right fit.

How to Use the Separator # 2

To use the separator in your shoe, remove the insole for the foot with the overlapping toes. The smoother the insole the better the patch will stick. Clean the surface of the insole of all lint, dust or other things that could interfere with the patch adhering. Make sure the insoles are dry. Put the insole on the floor and stand on it so your foot falls into any indentations. Usually, an insole will have indentations under the heel, ball of the foot, and some of the toes. Using a pen, make a mark between the two affected toes. Put on a pair of Injinji socks and make sure the marking is still in the right place.

Once the placement has been confirmed, with sock on, place the separator between the two toes to make sure it fits. The best way to do this is with your foot on the insole. The height should come up to the top of the toes with sock on. If the height is too high, trim it with a scissors. If it’s too low, make another separator where the pinched section is higher.

Toe separator between 2nd and 3rd toes with Injinji socks

Toe separator between 2nd and 3rd toes with Injinji socks

The length needs to be long enough to cover the body of the toe – without hitting the crease between the toes. If the separator touches the crease, it could rub and cause problems, especially if the foot moves forward in the shoe. If it’s too long, trim it with a scissors.

Once the fit has been checked, you can place the separator on the insole. Line it up so the upward part is in the correct place. Then remove the protective backing to expose the adhesive and place the patch on the insole with the upward part over the line on the insole. Rub the separator to make sure it is firmly secured to the insole. Use a scissors to trim any part that extends over the sides of the insole. Use a blow dryer for a few

If the patch does not stick, you probably have an insole with a surface that is not smooth enough or too soft with too much fabric that does not allow the adhesive to hold. In this case, you may want to try another insole with a better surface. They can be peeled off the insole if they are placed wrong, but will probably not stick as well if you try to reattach them. The patches will not stick to a wet insole. For easier removal, use a blow dryer or heat gun to heat the patch.

If the Separator # 2 is Too Weak

It’s possible that the pinched section of the ENGO patch will be too weak or thin to keep the toe from going under the next toe. If you can tell the toe is going under, here’s an idea to make it stronger. Take another ENGO Patch and cut a strip the width of the top of the separator, remove the adhesive backing, and pinch it over the existing separator so it reinforces the upward part of the separator and extends onto the base. This will strengthen the part between the toes and make it stiffer and better able to keep one toe from going under the other.

Sources

Injinji socks and ENGO patches can be purchased at Zombierunner.com. The patches can also be purchased at the ENGO website. Disclosure: I have an affiliate relationship with Zombierunner.

Making Overlapping Toe Separators – Part 1

January 3, 2016 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Footwear, Health 

This is part one of a two-part blog post.

Over the past few years, I have seen many athletes with a common toe problem – overlapping toes. Some people may call then underlapping toes or call them some other name. When a pinky toe goes under the 4th toe, both toes can be negatively affected. Skin is pinched. Hot spots and then blisters form. Often callus develops as the skin is constantly under pressure from the overlapping toe.

While most common to the 4th toe and pinky toe, overlapping toes can affect any two toes. This is not necessarily a problem limited to running shoes or hiking footwear. It can happen in everyday footwear too. The cause of over-lapping is unknown. Many experts suspect that they are caused by an imbalance in the small muscles of the foot.

There are some easy solutions, which may or may not help, because toes are different. You can switch to Injinji toe socks, giving each toe it’s own little sock and some degree of protection. You can cut out a portion of the insole under the toe that goes under the other toe, giving the toe some extra space. Another option is to tape around the toe or toes to give some protection too.

This is an idea to help runners, adventure racers, and hikers with the problem of overlapping toes. You will need Injinji toe socks, ENGO Blister Prevention Patches (large ovals), and removable insoles. There are two types of separators you can make. This post will cover the first of the two.

Toe Separator Number 1

I use an ENGO Blister Prevention Patch as the toe separators. They make a small and large oval, but I like the large because of its size.

The first toe separator is easy to make and use – and it uses one large ENGO patch. Take a scissors and cut a long oval into a strip, about ¾ inch wide and 1¾ inches long. If you are cutting this for a middle toe or for large toes, it may have to be 1 to 1 ¼ inches wide and a bit longer. Round all corners. Cut one of the remaining sections into a small strip, ¼ inch wide and 1¼ inch long. Take the large oval and remove half the backing from one end. Wearing Injinji socks, put the large oval between the two affected toes. Put the end of the large oval with the exposed adhesive over the toe next to the toe that goes under it. The blue side will go from the top of one toe, run between the toes, and under the toe that normally goes under the other one. What you have is an S shaped patch from the top of one toe, between them, and then under the next toe. Take the small strip and remove the backing, and put one end of the adhesive on the white backing that is underneath the toe at the bottom of the S. The other end of the strip can be stuck onto the top of that toes sock. The small strip is needed to hold the bottom of the S under the toe when you put your foot in your shoe. The S shaped patch will keep the toes apart. Obviously, these are single use. If the patch seems too weak, use two strips to make the S patch stronger.

Toe Separator #1 - top view

Toe Separator #1 – top view

Toe Separator # 1 - bottom view

Toe Separator # 1 – bottom view

Injinji socks and Engo patches can be purchased at Zombierunner.com. The patches can also be purchased at the Engo website.

Overlapping Toes?

January 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Health 

I am looking for two or three athletes with a toe(s) that curls under the next toe. In most of the cases I have seen, it’s the pinky toe that curls and rests under the next inside toe.

Overlapping Toes

Overlapping Toes

These cases have the appearance of one toe that is usually straight, but overlaps the next toe, which curls underneath it. The toe that curls under is susceptible to blisters, maceration from moisture of skin-to-skin contact, and toenail issues as the toe curls downward.

I have an idea that might help with these overlapping toe problems and am looking for a few people to test my idea. No guarantees, but I think it could help.

If you are interested, please send me an email and tell me a bit about:

  • Which toes are affected
  • What problems this has caused
  • What you have tried to resolve the problem
  • A snail mail address
  • Send a photo if possible

 

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