Select Correct Shoes for Your Hammertoe

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Lynn, Eng, Alma and 1 other

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Every day, your feet experience all sorts of stress. Your trusty pair of shoes supports your weight, helps give you balance, and takes you wherever you want to go. However, all that stress does take a toll on your foot health. In time, you may develop conditions that affect the appearance and the function of your feet. Foot ailments such as hammertoe (also known as Hallux valgus) cause a lot of pain and discomfort. They can be debilitating if they are not addressed at the soonest. Remember that your feet play an important role in the way you carry yourself and in the confidence that you want to project. Wearing the right type of shoes to help you manage your hammertoe does a lot to bring back that certain air of esteem in your stride. Gone are the days when you only shopped for shoes just because they looked good on you. Now, you have to select correct shoes to make you stand out and help your hammertoe at the same time.

Do You Have Hammertoe?

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Hammertoe is a foot condition in which the big toe deviates to about 15-20 degrees. It may even come to a point where the big toe may overlap the second one. The overlap or lateral subluxation results in the formation of a bunion. If you have this ailment, your toes slowly twist up to a point that they look like the claw of a bird. Genetics can play a crucial role in the development of hammertoes. However, it can also be brought about by any neurological trauma, prolonged wearing of tight shoes, or toe injury. You can have a hammertoe and a bunion at one time. That bump of bone on the outer margin of the big toe forces the big toe toward the inner margin. When this happens, the second toe and the other toes become bent out of shape. If you look at them closely, they do resemble little hammers hence the term "hammertoe". Also, notice that your toes bend because of your flattened or pronated arches. People with hammertoes usually have corns on those toes because the bony protrusions of those toes rub against other toes or the inner lining of the shoe.

Hammertoe Symptoms

You'll know if you're suffering from a hammertoe if you have the following symptoms:

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  1. 1
    Your toe is curling.
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  2. 2
    Discomfort or pain in the ball of your foot and in your toes
    There can also be pain in the anterior or front part of your leg especially when you stretch your toes forward.
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  3. 3
    Formation of thick calluses or corns around the toe.
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  4. 4
    You find it a greater challenge to find shoes that fit you.
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How to Make the Right Shoe Choice for Hammertoes

If you take the time to choose the right type of shoes for your hammertoe, you will find yourself relieved of the daily foot pain. Below are some pointers that you should follow in making the right shoe choice for your foot condition:

  1. 1
    Select shoes that have a spacious area above your toes
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    This will provide enough space for the twisted toe. It will also help keep corns at bay because your toes won't rub against the inner lining of your shoes.
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  • 2
    Install special hammertoe padding
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    You can make this by using cotton or tissue wrapped in a gauze. The padding will help keep off friction inside your shoes.
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  • 3
    Stay away from narrow or pointed shoes
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    These will only aggravate your hammertoes and bunions. Pointed or narrow shoes at the toe area push the toes toward the center, making them bend more.
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  • 4
    Make sure the shoes you select are just the right length with a bit more room for the toes
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    Short or tight shoes squeeze the toes together, making your condition worse.
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  • 5
    Select shoes that are longer by half an inch than the lengthiest toe
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    Doing so will not allow any friction between the shoes and your toes.
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  • 6
    Do not wear shoes that hurt
    You are already suffering from grave foot discomfort from your condition. Wearing uncomfortable shoes is not the way to go.
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  • 7
    Choose shoes with a boxy or wide toe area
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    These will give your toes more room.
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  • 8
    Search for shoes that have adjustable laces or straps
    The laces or straps help your toes relax because they won't have to curl up just to keep your shoes intact.
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  • 9
    Do not choose slip-ons
    These shoes force your toes to curl up to hold it in place. When your toes do this, the condition will be aggravated. Staying away from these shoes also prevents corns and calluses.
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  • 10
    Go to a foot specialist shoe store
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    The professionals there will know how to identify the right shoe for your hammertoe. They could even help adjust the shoes to fit your needs.
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  • 11
    Do not choose shoes with ridges or seams in the toe box
    These will make your toes painful and irritated as you wear the shoes more often.
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  • 12
    Opt for shoes that have a removable insert feature
    Once you remove the inserts, your toes will have enough room and your hammertoe will not suffer more.
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  • Other Hammertoe Treatments

    1. 1
      Wearing splints for the hammertoe
      This can help stretch and straighten the affected tendons of the toe.
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    2. 2
      Undergoing surgery
      This is only done if the hammertoe has been neglected enough to be bent or stiff on a permanent basis.
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      During the procedure, a small piece of bone is removed from the toe so that the toe can lie flat again. This is usually perceived and categorized as an aesthetic procedure.
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    Your feet are precious and should be well cared for. Exert effort must be made in finding the right shoes so that you can enjoy your day in every step you make.


    • Take a break from closed shoes and wear sandals that allow your toes to be free. This type of footwear can relieve your toes of the pressure that only closed shoes can give.
    • Consult a podiatrist if the correct shoes don't work for you anymore. You may have to consider surgery wherein a small bone or a short tendon from your toe may be removed.
    • Be aware that hammertoe does not show any painful symptoms during its early development.
    • If you notice that pain is starting to form in your feet, start wearing comfortable shoes.
    • Flatten your shoes on a regular basis.
    • Stretch your toes while soaking your feet in warm water.
    • Do simple toe workouts like picking up something with your toes or by grabbing a rug. Doing so will help you flex your toes more often.
    • Shop for shoes by the end of the day and not in the morning. This is the time when the feet are expanded enough. Feet constrict during the morning. If you shop for shoes early in the day, you will end up with smaller shoes that will only make your uncomfortable if you wear them all day.

    Questions and Answers

    I am trying to find out if there is a sleeping shoe that will stretch the skin on top of the foot?

    My husband has bad hammer toes, problem, he has diabetes. He has a callous that causes a soar. Is there a shoe we can get to stretch the skin on top of his foot, he had the tendon released it only helped a little, his other foot the tendon release worked (no callous). Doc. said skin on top of foot is tight. I am desperate to find a solution.. I have tried: Rubbing top of foot and had tendon release on one toe.. I think it was caused by: Hereditary

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    Article Info

    Categories : Health & Wellness

    Recent edits by: Alma, Eng, Lynn

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