Hammer Toe and Toe Pain Relief
Hammer toe is a deformity that causes your toe to bend at the middle joint instead of pointing forward. While this condition may be present at birth, it typically develops from wearing tight, constricting shoes.
Common Symptoms of Hammer Toe
If one or multiple toes hurt when you try to stretch them out or walk, it’s likely you may be suffering from hammer toe. Common symptoms and signs of hammer toe include:
- Your toe visibly bending downward
- Trouble walking, running, and stretching out your toes
- Corns or calluses on the top middle joint of the affected toe
- Inability to flex or wiggle your toes
Symptoms can range anywhere from mild discomfort to extreme pain that prevents you from walking properly. For extreme discomfort and pain, it’s best to visit a doctor as soon as possible.
Common Causes of Hammer Toe
A family history of the condition and consistently wearing tight-fitting shoes can lead to hammer toe. If you wear poorly designed and constricted shoes, your toes get pushed forward and are not given the room they need to spread out and lie flat like they should. If you wear tight shoes and feel pressure in your toes, try switching to larger, more comfortable shoes. Other common causes include:
- Foot injuries where the toes are broken or jammed
- High arches
- Arthritis in the toe joints
- Damage to the nerves and muscles
- Pressure caused from bunions, where the big toe points inward toward your other toes
A change in your foot’s anatomy can also lead to hammer toe. This is when the metatarsal bones in the ball of your foot “drop”, causing your toes to no longer touch the surface of your shoe. To re-establish contact with the ground, the toes constrict and shoe symptoms of hammer toe.
Treatment for Hammer Toe
If you start to notice mild symptoms of hammer toe, stop wearing high-heeled shoes immediately and switch to comfortable footwear that gives your toes plenty of space to spread out. This will remove the discomfort you’re feeling and allow your toes to realign naturally. If your toes are stiff, spend time every day stretching them out with your fingers to get the tendons and muscles loosened up again. For more serious conditions, a physical therapist can provide exercises and stretches to combat hammer toe symptoms. Pads, cushions, and insoles can also help provide extra comfort, especially if high arches are part of the reason why you’re suffering from hammer toe.
Hammer Toe Relief Products
The following products can help relieve symptoms of hammer toe:
- Compression Recovery Socks: These training socks offer an improved fit to help speed up recovery during and after training and running. The socks come with a padded toe to protect your toes and provide extra comfort when performing physical activities.
- Metatarsal Foot Pads: These pads are ideal for the stress and pressure caused by wearing high heels and constricting dress shoes. The pads move weight away from the metatarsal bones and allows them to spread out to relieve discomfort and relieve pinched nerves.
- IPK Ball of Foot Cushions: These pads can be placed underneath the ball of your foot to relieve pressure from dropped metatarsal heads and deep calluses.