Hammertoe affects around 7 million Americans making it one of the most common foot deformities in the country. A hammertoe is a disorder that causes a permanent bend in your toes, with the second, third, or fourth toes being the most frequent. Hammertoes form slowly and are flexible at first, permitting you to move your joint back into place. However, with time, the contraction causes permanent alterations in your feet’s structures, causing your toe to “freeze” into a hammer-like position. Doctors commonly recommend custom orthotic insoles for underlying foot conditions these days. These insoles function by correcting your feet’s bones and providing additional cushioning and support where you need it. However, the question here is– How effectively do they work? The compiled information explains how well custom-made orthotics insoles or orthopedic shoes can help with foot health issues. Let’s start with the concept of “Hammertoe.”
Hammer Toe – Causes and Symptoms
Hammertoe is a severe foot condition that develops when the toe’s first joint (interphalangeal) bends abnormally and forms an upside-down V. The second to fifth toes are most affected. It results in uncomfortable corn or callus when it rubs against your shoe. The toe muscle weakens leading to contracture, and smaller toes tend to form an inverted “V” with some flexibility at an early stage. Treatment at this point is crucial to stop any further progression. While in later stages, rigidity happens, and the toe becomes permanently misaligned. This affects the foot’s mobility, which might cause arthritis if left untreated for an extended period.
A hammertoe is caused by an abnormal muscle balance in your toe, which generates excessive pressure on the tendon and joints. The following are some of the factors that contribute to muscular imbalance:
- Ill-fitted shoes and heels
- Any predisposition at the time of birth
- Having a toe that is longer than your main toe
- Neuromuscular diseases like diabetes and arthritis.
- Trauma can rarely be the cause of this joint dysfunction.
Hammertoe pain can accelerate with time, especially if you wear unsupportive shoes or have tendon stiffness. To avoid the condition, make sure the shoes you wear have a big toe box and a low heel while picking between them.
A few common symptoms of hammertoe are as listed:
- Stiffness in the toe’s joint.
- Pain in the top of your bent toe.
- Pain in the ball of your foot.
- Corns and calluses on your joint’s top surface.
- Inflammation, redness, or a burning feeling.
- Toe joint motion is restricted or uncomfortable.
- Swelling around the joint.
How Do Orthotics Help Hammertoes?
If you have a toe showing early signs of stiffness, the goal is to act as soon as possible to prevent the hammertoe from progressing. Thus, custom orthotic insoles created precisely for your foot conditions are highly recommended. Orthotics are medical devices prescribed for the specific structures and requirements of your foot.
Those with flat feet and high arches are more sensitive to developing a hammer toe. Hence, using firm arch support insoles to relieve biomechanical irregularities is highly beneficial. Patients who wear shoes with a wide toe box, open-toe shoes, or tailored shoes usually find comfort. Using orthotics let the foot’s intrinsic muscles stretch and exercise to improve muscle balance.
Hammertoe orthotics function by correcting your feet’s bones and providing additional cushioning and support where you need it. They help prevent your hammertoe from growing worse by correcting the muscle-tendon imbalance. The body pressure is spread evenly across the foot, diminishing the chances of infectious cones and numbness that might lead to hammertoe and other related foot conditions.
Our team of highly educated pedorthic professionals at Comfort Shoe has one goal: to make your life easier by maintaining the health of your feet. Even the tiniest problem in your lower limbs can have a considerable impact, this is especially true in the case of progressing conditions such as hammertoes.