If your toes appear crooked or misshapen, chances are you have hammertoes.
Hammertoes, sometimes known as clawed toes, crooked toes or mallet toes, can form on your feet regardless of age or sex.
A muscle imbalance from an unnatural walk is one of the top causes of hammertoes, though genetics can also play a role their development.
If you answered YES to any of these questions, you could have hammertoes.
Other common causes include:
Hammertoes form when your foot is flattened, and greater than usual stress is placed on your foot. (People with flat feet, then, are especially at risk.)
The onset of hammertoes takes the form of calluses. Ongoing chafing leads to corns or, on occasion, ulcers. As the tendons on the bottom of your feet try to stabilize each foot, the muscles controlling the toes feel the added pressure, and your toes pull back, forcing the knuckles to become prominent. Hammertoes then result.
As the condition worsens, walking can become extremely painful and difficult. The misshapen hammertoes may hit shoes at the wrong spots, causing friction. Fashionable shoes are not made to accommodate distorted hammertoes. As contact continues between gnarled hammertoes and the shoe, irritation sets in.
Once hammertoes are fully retracted, it is difficult to straighten them out.
The easiest way to avoid developing hammertoes, especially if you have flat feet, is to make sure your shoes have a wide toe box. Shoes that provide extra depth and more room help relieve the pressure put on feet from standing and walking.
Other ways to treat hammertoes include:
If you have hammertoes, and your toes look severely bent and cannot be straightened out with treatment, surgery may be required. See a podiatrist for a consultation.
Overlapping Toes, Pinched Toes:
Some people may also be diagnosed with different forms of hammertoes:
Information on foot, leg and lower body health conditions provided by The Podiatry Institute, dedicated to advancing the standard of care in podiatric medicine and its effects on muscoskeletal health.
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