Defeating hammer toes

Posted on: October 11, 2012

Feet take a beating!  High heels and the pounding on the ground from running can cause feet to look bad and ache. One ailment, a hammer toe, caused me some discomfort a few years ago. It stalled my whole running program.

What is a hammer toe?

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, the hammer toe looks like an upside-down V from the side.  This toe pop up can rub on your footwear, causing discomfort.

Some causes:

1. If your parents have them; you can thank them.

2.  Wearing shoes that are too tight and squeeze the toes.  Watch out ballerinas!

3.  Arthritis and stiffness.

Some symptoms:

1.  Corns or thick skin on the part that pops up.

2.  Redness and swelling.

Home treatment:

1.  Pad around the part that pops up takes some pressure off the toe.

2.  Wear shoes that are loose-fitting with a deep toe box.

3.   Try wearing a shoe insert that can be purchased in a pharmacy foot section.

4.  Apply ice packs to the area several times a day.

These home treatments may help with the pain.  Go see a foot specialist — a podiatrist — if you want the hammer toe repaired.  These docs can prescribe medicines, custom shoe inserts, and perform surgery if absolutely necessary to help get you back into running.

Katie Holmes has been dancing on stage for years.  That could explain her hammer toes.

To solve my problem, I bought shoes that were loose-fitting in the toe box and added inserts.  So far, so good.

Did you ever suffer with a hammer toe?  What happened?


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