These are similar to the tops of the toes blisters, the causes of both are similar in origin and hence the prevention. This incorporates pinch blisters, where the ends of the toes get pinched by the other toe or the shoe and the toe

What causes them?

Inherited

you inherit your foot shape from parents and grandparents, sometimes you can inherit an incorrect toe formula. What that means is your lesser toes can look too long in comparison to the big toe but actually it is probably the metatarsal shaft of the big toe that is too short making the lesser toes look longer. However that doesn’t really help you! When buying shoes the shoe manufacturers make shoes with a toe box shape for the perfect toe formula ie Big toe is the longest the 2nd to 5th in descending order. In practice, feet rarely present like that. With those statistics, the longer lesser toes touch the end of the shoe first before the big toe and they buckle and retract, like the pictures above. By doing this the depth of your toes ( ie looking at your feet from a sideways angle) have increased and touch the top of the shoe and the ends of your toes contact the floor creating a huge amount of pressure

Footwear is a problem to the end of the toes when the shoes are too short in length and the toes are contacting the front of the shoe, always leave a thumbs width gap at the end of the longest toe to the front of the shoe. Then there is room for movement without impact on the end of the toes

Lace locking

if the foot is moving forwards in the shoe and the toes are knocking the front of the shoe then the footwear laces need to be locked to keep the foot secured in the shoe.

Biomechanics

if the foot is unstable at certain parts of the gait cycle ( in biomechanical terms) then a the toes will retract and grip in an attempt to try and keep the foot stable, which then increases the pressure on the ends of toes.

Tendon dysfunction

this is where one set of tendons become stronger than the opposing set and consequently this affects the balance of the toes sitting straight , a bit like a pulley system of ropes.

Pinching from the toes themselves

sometime the toes curl at the ends more than retracting and the ends of the toes can produce sharp edges of skin that will, under pressure, blister.( photo of a pinch callous)

What will help stop these blisters from forming?

Footwear

shoes, boots with more depth and that are long enough at the front of the shoe 

Wicking socks

Darn tough socks are Blisterhelp’s sock of choice as they wick the moisture away from the skin, cushion the underneath of the toes which will also reduce the pressure on the end of the toes.

Injinji socks

are socks that also have wicking properties but have individual toes sections to put each one of your toes in, these help by propping your toes slightly, this may be enough to stop the blister formation at the ends of your toe?

Lace locking

keeps the foot from moving around in the shoe and creating more repetition slipping which make the foot unstable and then the toes want to grip, increasing the pressure then shear- and then blisters.

Toe props

these are custom made to prop the toes from underneath and straighten them and reducing the pressure on the ends of the toes, they are made by a podiatrist as they will be a custom made fit to your feet. You can make temporary ones out of the deflective padding in the kits.

Biomechanical assessment by a podiatrist

to establish the cause of the retracted toes and prescribe a treatment plan

Engo patches

on the end of the insole of the shoe to help with a reduction of friction

Armaskin socks

decrease the shear on all of the toes with Armaskin

Silopos digi gel caps

are ok for one or two toe but can get bulky with any more in the shoe and they do decrease the amount of friction and pressure applied to the ends of the toes. (picture of the end in silicone sleeves)

Fleecy web St George crosses

can be applied to the ends of the toes and secured with hypafix, this helps prevent friction and pressure to the ends of the toes 

2toms blister powder

Will reduce the friction to that area

Taping of the toes

taping is tricky to do yourself but like everything else it gets easier the more you do it. It is very important that there are no creases in the tape as that in itself can cause blisters! and the type of tape, the rigid tapes disperse the shear more but creases easily so we prefer hyperfix, which is a medical tape podiatrists use all the time as we can manipulate the tape with minimal creasing. Kt pro and Kt blister tape can be used but it is firmer and less easy to use than hypafix. Making a deflective toe prop can be added to prop the toe decreasing the pressure and friction at the end of the toe.

Alpaca wool

this is extremely soft and has no lanolin content, weave the wool around the toes, in a figure of eight fashion and then put your sock on, it works really well at helping prevent these blisters. Just remember to remove it at the end of the day and replace with another strip. Do not use on broken skin or wrap it around a toe.