Hammertoe typically develops gradually, often due to wearing high heels or tight shoes with a narrow toe box. This footwear tends to force the toes into a cramped space, pushing the tips downwards and causing the middle joints to protrude or arch upwards.
Regularly wearing ill-fitting shoes can lead to friction between the tops of the toes and the shoe, resulting in painful sores, corns, and calluses. Besides causing foot discomfort, hammertoe can also impact the way you walk.
Hammertoe most commonly develops in the second, third, and fourth toes. Board-certified foot and ankle surgeon Babak Kosari, DPM, provides comprehensive care for a full range of issues that affect the feet and ankles, including hammertoe. If you suspect you might have a hammertoe, it's important to consult a podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis.
Managing hammertoe often involves changing shoes with lower heels and spacious toe boxes to alleviate discomfort and prevent further complications. In some cases, surgery is the most appropriate treatment to correct hammertoe.
Your footwear choices might look great but could harm your foot health. The ideal shoe style for preventing hammertoe might not always align with current fashion trends, but choosing the right type can ward off foot issues.
Avoid shoes with a narrow toe box that compresses your toes. Ditch the pointed wing-tips and tight stilettos for shoes with a more square or roomy toe, allowing your feet enough space.
Knowing your shoe size is more complex than it seems. Shoe sizes can be misleading due to:
Never rely solely on your assumed shoe size. Measure your feet each time you shop for shoes, and prioritize comfort.
When shopping for shoes to prevent hammertoe, consider the following:
Taking care of your feet is crucial, even with the right shoes. Promote good circulation with warm water soaks, elevation, and occasional foot massages.
If you already have a hammertoe, making lifestyle changes, starting with your footwear, can help. Dr. Kosari can also provide custom orthotics or splints for more stubborn cases.
For severe hammertoe, Dr. Kosari may recommend surgical correction. During surgery, Dr. Kosari realigns the toe bones to correct the abnormal bending of the toe. Hammertoe pain is the number one reason to consider hammertoe surgery. If nonsurgical approaches fail to relieve pain from hammertoe, discuss it with Dr. Kosari.
Contact our Greater Los Angeles office for more information on preventing or treating hammertoe. We are located in Northridge and Santa Clarita, California, to schedule a visit with Dr. Kosari.