Hammertoe, a common foot condition, occurs when one or more toes bend abnormally at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. This condition can be caused by various factors, including wearing tight footwear that crowds the toes, having imbalanced muscles or foot abnormalities, and arthritis. Fortunately, there are exercises that can help alleviate discomfort and prevent further progression. Toe stretches, where you gently pull each toe to stretch and relax the tendons, can be beneficial. Rolling a tennis ball or cylindrical object under the arches of your feet can also help strengthen the muscles. Additionally, picking up small objects using your toes encourages flexibility and dexterity. Regularly practicing these exercises, coupled with wearing roomier shoes and using orthotic supports, can aid in managing hammertoes and maintaining foot health. If you have developed a hammertoe, it is suggested that you confer with a podiatrist who can provide you with additional relief and treatment tips.
Hammertoe is a foot deformity that occurs due to an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments that normally hold the toe straight. It can be caused by the type of shoes you wear, your foot structure, trauma, and certain disease processes.
- Painful and/or difficult toe movement
- Joint stiffness
- Physical deformity
- Age – The risk of hammertoe increases with age
- Sex – Women are more likely to have hammertoe compared to men
- Toe Length – You are more likely to develop hammertoe if your second toe is longer than your big toe
- Certain Diseases – Arthritis and diabetes may make you more likely to develop hammertoe
If you have hammertoe, you should change into a more comfortable shoe that provides enough room for your toes. Exercises such as picking up marbles may strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. Nevertheless, it is important to seek assistance from a podiatrist in order to determine the severity of your hammertoe and see which treatment option will work best for you.