A hammertoe is when the joint of the second or middle toes bends rather than lying flat, causing significant pain, discomfort, and even difficulty walking. This occurs when your foot or leg muscles weaken and your toe’s tendons pull abnormally. They can be caused by genetics, wearing ill-fitting shoes, or foot injuries.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent hammertoes from occurring or getting worse. Let’s discuss some foot care tips and advice to keep your toes healthy and prevent hammertoes from developing.
Tip #1 Wear Footwear That Fits Properly
One of the simplest and most effective ways to avoid hammertoes is by wearing shoes that fit properly. Avoid tight shoes with high heels or narrow-toe boxes, as they can put a lot of pressure on your toes and cause them to curl and bend into a hammertoe.
Instead, wear shoes with wider toe boxes and good arch support. Good arch support can help to keep your feet properly aligned and reduce the risk of hammertoes.
Tip #2 Strengthen your feet with Massage and Exercises
Building strength in your toes and feet is another excellent way to prevent hammertoes.
Toe stretches are one of the most effective ways to prevent hammertoes and keep your feet flexible. You can do toe stretches in the morning or just before bed. All you have to do is spread your toes wide apart, hold them for a few seconds, and release them. Do this a few times a day to keep your fingers flexible and prevent hammertoes.
Massaging your toes and feet can help prevent hammertoes. Use your fingers to massage your toes, arches, and the ball of the foot in a circular motion. This will help improve circulation, relax your muscles, and prevent hammertoes.
Tip #3 Use a Pumice Stone
Some people develop corn and callus on top of their deformed toes, which can cause pain and discomfort when they wear shoes. Corn and calluses can further aggravate hammertoe.
If you have developed corns or calluses on your deformed toe, use a pumice stone after a warm bath to reduce the corns or calluses’ size and apply emollients to keep the area soft.
When wearing shoes, it is also recommended to use silicone or moleskin padding on top of the affected area.
Tip #4 Get Treatment of Your Foot Injuries
A stubbed, jammed, or broken toe is more likely to develop a hammertoe. Therefore, seek medical attention immediately if you experience discomfort, pain, or swelling after injuring your foot.
Resting, icing, and elevating the foot can also be beneficial for foot injuries.
Tip#5 Practice Good Posture
Believe it or not, poor posture and gait can also contribute to hammertoes.
Correcting your posture and gait helps ease the symptoms of hammertoe but helps prevent it altogether. To practice good posture, ensure you stand tall with your shoulders back. Also, keep your weight evenly distributed on both feet.
If you don’t have good orthotics, you’ll need to invest in some to support your feet and correct your posture when needed.
Tip #6 Regularly Inspect Your Feet
Inspect your feet every day, or at least several times a week, to catch the early signs of foot problems, such as hammertoe. If you notice any abnormality, visit a podiatrist, as they can evaluate your problem and give you specialized advice that meets your unique needs.
Hammertoe Surgeon in Warwick, Rhode Island
Hammertoes are a painful ailment that is preventable with careful foot care. By following the aforementioned foot care tips and advice, you can maintain good foot health and avoid painful hammertoes.