Are your toes bending abnormally downwards, making it difficult to wear shoes? You may have hammertoes. Although this condition is not medically alarming, it causes extreme discomfort, affecting your quality of life. When you seek early treatment for Huntsville hammertoes, you may benefit from conservative approaches such as splinting; however, if you wait too long, you may need surgery.
Causes of hammertoes
A hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the middle joint of your toes, causing them to bend downwards, appearing like a hammer. The deformity develops gradually and may cause pain when walking in closed shoes. The most prevalent cause of this disorder is wearing ill-fitting shoes. Tight shoes can cause your toes to squeeze together, causing them to bend abnormally. Narrow shoes and high heels can also put pressure on your toes, increasing your chances of developing hammertoes. When the tendons and muscles in your toes become imbalanced, the stronger muscles may force your toes to bend downwards. This imbalance can be due to foot injuries, genetic predisposition, or arthritis.
Prevention tips for hammertoes
Do foot exercises
Foot exercises can strengthen the muscles in your toes, improving mobility and flexibility. These exercises can also relieve pressure on the joints in your toes, reducing your risk of hammertoes. For instance, you can pick up small objects and place them in a container to enhance flexibility in your toes. You can also scrunch and pull a towel using your toes or stretch them using your hands to improve their range of motion.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight can exert extra pressure on your feet, causing your toes to bend downwards. Excess weight can also result in other foot problems like flat feet and plantar fasciitis, which can further contribute to the development of hammertoes. A healthy diet and physical activity can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reducing pressure on your toes. In addition to protecting your toes, a healthy weight can minimize your risk of developing chronic disorders like diabetes. It can also enhance joint health lowering your risk of developing foot problems.
Avoid standing for prolonged periods
When you stand for a long time, your body weight exerts extra pressure on your toes, causing them to curve downwards. If you have an occupation that requires you to stand for long periods, you can take frequent breaks or try shifting your weight from one foot to the other. If you notice abnormalities in the appearance of your feet or experience, you can consult your provider.
Treat foot problems promptly
Foot problems that can contribute to the development of hammertoes include bunions, corns, and calluses. Treating these problems early can prevent further damage to your toes. Medical experts recommend inspecting your feet occasionally for abnormalities or changes such as calluses or blisters and seeking medical help to preserve the health of your feet and prevent hammertoes. Additionally, wearing comfortable shoes and maintaining good foot hygiene can minimize your risk of developing hammertoes and other foot problems.
The treatment for hammertoes often involves splinting, custom-fitted orthotics, anti-inflammatory medication, and stretching exercises to improve mobility and flexibility in your toes.
If you struggle with painful hammertoes, call the Foot and Ankle Specialists or book your spot online for treatment.