How To Fix Hammer Toe?
Hammer’s toe is a condition that causes the affected toe to curl downwards unnaturally. It can be caused by injured tendons, muscles, or nerve damage.
Pain at the front of the foot near the toenail bed due to sore skin and callus formation. This may cause blisters.
Tight-fitting shoes can aggravate symptoms which are often worse in the morning when you first put weight on your feet after waking up. The toes may be tender or painful to touch.
Bunions are also extremely common with hammertoe as they both result from overlapping toe deformities; however, there is no research linking bunion surgery to worsened hammertoe deformity, although some podiatrists claim that positioning for bunion surgery exacerbates a hammertoe.
Prickly, aching pain in the ball of the foot or forefoot
What causes hammertoe?
The most common cause is wearing too tight, narrow, and high-heeled shoes. This can apply pressure to your toes and cause them to curl under your feet. If you wear shoes with pointed toes or low heels, your feet may also get squashed. You may be at higher risk of developing hammertoe if you have poor muscle control, osteoarthritis, or tenosynovitis (inflammation of a tendon sheath).
Wearing high heels puts strain on all parts of your body – mainly your legs and feet – so it’s best not to wear them for long periods. In some cases, an underlying condition such as arthritis, muscle weakness, or nerve damage can cause a hammertoe. Still, it is due to repeated injury from unsuitable shoes in most cases.
What are the treatment options for hammertoe?
Surgery is most commonly used to treat hammertoe. This involves releasing or cutting the tendon that causes the toe to curl. It can be carried out at any time after your symptoms develop, but the sooner you have it done, the better – so if possible, wait until your pain has settled before having surgery. If you delay having surgery, there’s a chance your condition will return (recur), and you may need more than one operation.
Some people find orthoses (special shoes or boots) helpful in helping their feet recover from an operation. Some people also claim that taping over their toes helps relieve some of their discomforts, although this hasn’t been formally researched yet.
Conservative treatment options:
It is important to note that wearing the wrong size shoes can cause the toes to bend and inhibit blood flow. This causes pain and calluses on the toes, leading to hammertoe. Thus, it is recommended for those with neuropathy or diabetes (two populations at increased risk of this condition) to obtain a multisize shoe, ensuring both width and length are appropriate for their feet.
It is also an option for those who wish to avoid surgery as much as possible yet still symptomatically improve their condition via muscle relaxing agents such as botulinum toxin type A (Botox), medications such as gabapentin, carbamazepine, etc., splinting stretching exercises, and other palliative measures.
Although this condition is not entirely preventable, the following tips may help to reduce your chance of developing hammertoe:
Wear shoes with roomy, open toes (If you are diabetic or neuropathic, you can also consult your physician to see if they provide specific recommendations for footwear.) Avoid wearing high heels or skates that push your feet into an unnatural position.
Wearing flat shoes will help spread the weight load over more of the foot; avoiding high heels and skates will prevent pressure build-up. Wear shoes made of soft leather or suede, as these materials flex more than synthetic fabrics like nylon which do not allow muscles and tendons to move naturally. This reduces strain on your toe muscles and tendons.
Make sure your shoes fit correctly. If possible, get them stitched to allow for expansion of the fabric as they stretch over time. This will avoid pressure on your toes and help protect against hammertoe.
Perform stretching exercises of your toes regularly to prevent muscle contractions that can cause hammertoe deformities. Try pushing up on a wall with one hand and pulling back on the big toe with the other while sitting down. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then relax until you feel a pull in your toe; do this exercise 3 times daily.
Other easy strengthening foot exercises include curling and uncurling your toes, lifting individual toes off the floor without bending them, and pushing your big toe down on the ground while raising all other toes. You can do these exercises at your desk or even in class.
The incidence of neuromuscular conditions, including diabetic neuropathy and peripheral neuropathy, has increased dramatically in recent decades.
This increase is likely attributable to several factors, including advancing age, genetics, comorbidities associated with diabetes mellitus or obesity that are themselves increasing worldwide, long-term use of certain medications (e.g., statins), toxins such as pesticides and methyl bromide(fumigant) used in farming food products for human consumption or in greenhouses for ornamental plants/crops grown commercially for consumer markets, etc.