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Foot Products BUSTED - Part 1

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With every shopping trip I make it seems like stores are carrying more and more ‘foot care products’.  I use the word ‘care’ freely here seeing how many of these products can actually cause problems rather than relive them!  With so many products, it may be hard to hard to know what to get to treat your tootsies.  Wander no more! I’m here to help by busting some common foot care product myths.  Like I said, there’s a plethora of products out there so we’re going to break this bust down into 3 sections- nails, bunions/hammertoes, and shoes/inserts.  We will start with bunions/hammertoes. Let’s get BUSTING!    

Alignment Socks

Product info: socks with posts to separate the toes

Claim: Straighten hammertoes and realign your foot in a week

Verdict: BUSTED

Facts: It's taken a lifetime to create your alignment and it takes more than a simple sock or shoe to realign it.

What would a podiatrist do:  What really does work for foot alignment is custom made orthotics. These custom inserts are crafted from your feet and are made to exactly fit your arch prescription.

Bunion Sling

Product info: a plastic or fabric sling that goes around the arch of your foot and your bunion

Claim: Straighten and realign your bunion in a week

Verdict: BUSTED

Facts: A bunion will not straighten out and the physical bunion bump will not vanish due to being stretched or padded, as this medieval torture device-looking product was advertising. A bunion will not be realigned unless surgery is performed.

What would a podiatrist do:  Here at HFAA we like to start with conservative options first including padding (to help with rubbing and irritation), supportive inserts, and/or topical medication for pain.

Silicone Gel Toe Spreader

Product: a piece of silicon you put between your toes  

Claim: Promotes proper joint alignment, reduces friction and irritation, and provides relief on the bunion joint

Verdict: BUSTED

Facts: This product is busted solely due to the claim. Again, padding (or silicone in this case) will not realign your foot.  If this product’s claim was just to reduce friction and irritation, it would be CONFIRMED!

What would a podiatrist do:  We carry similar products made from a medical strength silicone that is used to prevent toes rubbing on each other. 

Silicone Metatarsal Shield

Product: a silicone sleeve that slides on top of your little toe

Claim: Protects feet from pain and pressure caused by shoes


Facts: I say plausible because we have actually discontinued a similar product in our office because the material would easily break due to the friction of shoes rubbing.  The product was also a bear to stay in place, and would move out of place before you could get your shoe on. 

What would a podiatrist do:  instead, try a product made of fabric that goes around the entire feet (like a glove or sleeve) for greater durability and slip resistance.


Very rarely can you purchase an over-the-counter product at a drugstore and get relief from your foot ailment.  Don't waste you valuable time or money!  Call Heartland Foot and Ankle at the first sign of an issue - 309.661.9975!

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