Hammer toe is a condition where one or more of your toes bend downwards instead of pointing straight ahead. As the condition worsens, the toes can lose their ability to bend and flex properly. In addition to this inflexibility, the toes themselves can be a great source of pain. Walking may be difficult.
This condition cannot always be prevented, but in many cases, it can be. Here's what you need to know about whether or not you're at risk for developing hammer toe, and what you can do to prevent it.
The hammer toe will start to develop as one or more of the joints in the toe become dislocated. This dislocation can happen over time, or it can happen immediately because of injury. You are more likely to naturally be in danger of developing hammer toe if you have high arches or if you have arthritis.
If you have bunions, calluses, or corns of your feet, these can also increase your risk of developing hammer toe, because they can affect how you walk and how your shoes fit.
You can sometimes prevent the development of hammer toe by:
- choosing well-fitting shoes. Some women get hammer toe because they wear high heeled shoes on a daily basis. The heels increase the pressure on the toe and force some of the toes into an unnatural position. These toes can eventually become damaged with consistent heel wear.
- being careful if you're a runner or other athlete. Runners should wear shoes that provide a good deal of room for the toes. The constant pounding of the pavement under your feet in a too-small shoe can put enough pressure on the toes to make them adopt a poor position as they absorb the stress of the run.
- stretching your feet. Sometimes, muscles and tendons that tighten too much can pull the toe out of place. If you spend your whole day wearing tight shoes, boots, or practicing in a sport like ballet or figure skating, you should stretch and roll out your feet.
It's also important that if you experience a foot injury, especially an injury to the toe, that you get treated by a medical professional. Many people ignore toe injuries because they think the toe is so small that it is not really worth the expense to get treatment. However, a broken or strained toe can help incorrectly, and hammer toe begins to develop.
For more information on treatment or other foot conditions, contact a podiatrist in your area like Collier Podiatry PA.