Click the conditions below to discover how they affect the toes — and how footwear can alleviate common symptoms.
Claw/Mallet/Hammer ToesShoes with extra depth and a larger toe box provide more room for your contracted toes.
Are your toes curling and rubbing against your shoe or each other? Hammer toes are caused by deformities in the joints that give them the appearance of hammers, mallets or claws. All are caused by a muscle imbalance of small muscles within your foot. As your toes curl or contract, they often deviate to the point of rubbing on the shoe or each other, causing painful calluses.
Hammer toes can be especially dangerous if you have diabetes. Continued rubbing may cause ulceration of the skin that may lead to amputation. This is also a concern with neuromuscular disorders and some forms of arthritis.
How Footwear Can Help
Shoes with extra depth and a larger toe box provide more room for your contracted toes. Leather shoes can be stretched by your podiatrist to accommodate the toe that may be rubbing. There are also shoes made of flexible materials especially for this condition.
Because there is no way to target these tiny muscles with exercise, the only treatment for hammer toes is surgical correction. Your podiatrist can discuss the best medical approach for your toes.