Your crooked toes may not only look strange, they may be painful, too. So whether you have hammertoe, claw toe, mallet toe or curly toe–they are all conditions that can cause pain and problems in your toes and feet. Hammertoe is one of the most common toe conditions of the group. So, what is a hammertoe? Read on to learn about the cause, symptoms and treatment of hammertoes.
What is a Hammertoe?
Hammertoe occurs when your toe bends down in the middle and curls up at the end, making your toe look like a hammer. Hammertoe can affect any toe on your foot, but most often it affects the second or third toe.
Hammertoes can be caused, in part, by an imbalance of the ligaments and muscles in your toes. Your muscles work in pairs to straighten and bend the toes. When there is an imbalance, your muscles tighten and over time your toe can no longer be straightened.
Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly can also lead to hammertoes. Shoes that force your toe into a bent position for long periods of time can cause your muscles to shorten. High heeled shoes or shoes that crowd your toes and force them into the narrowest part of your shoe are good examples. Your toes are forced to “grip” the bottom of the shoe to keep from being pushed into a tight area.
Normally when you walk, your toes extend or straighten. If your toes are crushed into a space that is too narrow or short, they may not have the room to extend and will tend to bend rather than straighten. Over time this makes it difficult for the toes to straighten, even when barefoot.
Additionally, if you have high arches or a natural tendency to keep your toes flexed, this can also contribute to hammertoes. Some health conditions including arthritis, diabetes, Charcot-Marie-Tooth, bunions and Morton’s toe can also lead to the development of hammertoes.
Can Hammertoes Cause Problems?
Any change in your feet that alters how your weight is distributed when you’re walking has the potential to cause a problem. How severe the problem is depends on how severe the condition is. When your toe is in a permanently bent position, the end of your toe may take an extreme amount of pressure– resulting in calluses. The middle joint of your toe may also rub against your shoe causing painful corns, calluses or skin irritation on the top of your toe.
Treatment for Hammertoes
Usually when the top of your toe begins to rub against your shoe, the decision is made to do something about it. The 3pp Toe Loops can be helpful by cushioning your toes to relieve the rubbing and irritation caused by your shoes pressing on your toes.
It’s important to consult with your healthcare professional to get a correct diagnosis. Without proper treatment, hammertoes may become permanent and can only be corrected by surgery.Like what you’ve read? Click here to subscribe to the blog!
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Our blogs are educational in nature and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Because your condition is unique to you, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider before attempting any medical or therapeutic treatments. We are always happy to answer questions about products mentioned in our blogs, however, we cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice.