Hammertoes are among the many foot and ankle conditions treated by your podiatrist, Dr. Gerard Ranieri of Lake Ridge Podiatry Woodbridge, VA. The condition makes walking painful and can even change your gait. Fortunately, preventing hammertoes can be as easy as taking these steps.
Check your shoe size
Did you know that your shoe size can change throughout your life? As you grow older, the ligaments that connect the bones in the joints in your feet together become looser. As a result, your feet may become a little longer and wider. Shoe size can also change if you gain weight or become pregnant. Consider the fit of the shoe, not the number on the bottom, when you try on shoes.
Stay away from tight shoes and high heels
These shoes can increase the pressure on your toes. Eventually, the middle joint of a toe may begin to bend, forming a hammer shape. If you already have a muscle/tendon imbalance, wearing these shoes will increase your risk of developing the condition.
Look for shoes that provide plenty of room in the toe area and aren't pointed. Wearing shoes that keep one or more of your toes in a bent position can increase your hammertoe risk. If one of your toes is longer than your big toe, buy shoes that fit the longest toe comfortably.
Ask your Woodbridge foot doctor to fit you with orthotics
Orthotics are prescription shoe inserts that keep your foot properly aligned. If you have a muscle/tendon imbalance in your foot or toes, orthotics can help you avoid hammertoes or slow the progression of the condition if you do develop hammertoes. The inserts also cushion the feet and absorb shock.
See your podiatrist if your toe starts to bend
Hammertoes are flexible initially but gradually become inflexible. If your toe no longer moves, you may experience pain when you walk or stand. Gait changes caused by hammertoes can affect the alignment of your entire body and trigger pain from your feet to your back.
Wearing orthotics and performing toe exercises can slow the progression of hammertoe, while splints may help keep your toe properly aligned. If your toe does become inflexible, surgery may be needed to release the tendon that keeps the toe bent.
Do you suffer from hammertoes? Your podiatrist in Woodbridge, VA, Dr. Ranieri of Lake Ridge Podiatry, can help you ease your pain. Call him at (703) 491-2603.