in Footcare

Hammer toes (ie toe pain)

Symptoms

If you are suffering from Hammer toes you maybe feeling pain in your toes, sole and ball of the foot. Hammer toes can cause walking to be uncomfortable and increases the risk of corns and bunions.

You may also notice that;
The toes are misaligned and crooked, what is more you may not be able to lay your toes flat on the ground.
The knuckles of your toes may also be protruding upwards which can cause corns and blisters to develop as the knuckles of your toes rub on the top of your shoes causing friction to separate the layers of skin, the gap in between the layers of skin then fills up with fluid.

Causes
There are a number of reasons as to why people develop hammer toes including bio mechanical imbalances in the toes and the ball of your foot which causes pressure to force the toes into an improper position, which causes damage and the misalignment of the toes. Genetics can be to blame for bio mechanical imbalances as some people maybe more inclined to develop hammer toes due to the anatomy of their feet for example having high arches or flat feet can increases the risk of hammer toes significantly as the feet are a lot less stable and places the ball of the foot under more pressure when walking.

Bio-Mechanics and genetics aren’t the only causes;

  • Wearing ill fitting shoes that cause pressure on the toes, for instance pointed high heels are particularly bad as the elevation of the heel can cause excessive pressure on the ball of the foot as well as the pointing of the toe area causes even more pressure on the toes as well.
  • A bunion on the second toe which can cause misalignment the toes
  • Injury or arthritis which may cause you to walk unnaturally causing pressure that can lead to hammer toes.

Treatments and prevention
Wearing shoes that are not too tight and give your toes plenty of room can help. Protecting the metatarsal area and ball of foot can help too, which can be achieved by wearing metatarsal pads which you place behind the ball of the foot that helps correct bio mechanical imbalances in your toes (which you can read more about here) and also by with better support which you can get from wearing orthotic insoles are some of the ways to relieve pressure from the toes stopping the condition from getting worse and letting your toes realign and recover. If the affected toes do not revert back to normal after trying these non surgical methods it is always best to go see a doctor.

*If your toes become severely affected and other treatments do not correct the hammer toe surgery maybe required.

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