If you’ve noticed the joint on your toe, either on the one next to the big toe or the smallest toe, points upward instead of lying flat, chances are you have a hammertoe. Hammertoe happens when one of the toe muscles grows weak and puts pressure on the toe’s tendons and joints.
This pressure forces the toe to become misshapen and point upward at the joint. It’s no strange occurrence for a corn or callus to form on top of the toe. This can cause pain when it rubs against your shoe. Hammertoe is caused by genes, wearing the wrong shoes, neuromuscular diseases, and diabetes. Here are some ways to help prevent hammertoe.
- Wear the right shoes. If you want to avoid having surgery to relieve your hammertoe, use non-medicated padding in shoes made with a wider and deeper toe box. Giving your feet proper arch support can help slow the progression of hammertoe.
- Use a pumice stone after a bath. Treat the corn or callus with a file or pumice stone to help reduce its size after a warm bath, and then apply emollients to help the area stay soft.
- Exercise your feet. Toe exercises can help your toes stay strong. Extending, curling the toes, splaying the toes, and moving the toes can help prevent contracture that causes hammertoe.