You take your shoes and socks off at the end of a long day, and look down at your feet. Noticing that they’re just not what they used to be? You see they’ve changed over the years. You’re not quite sure what happened, and you wonder, “What’s wrong with my toes?” You are certainly not alone. Many people notice that, with time, feet simply change. The changes are usually harmless, and often can be solved with some simple home treatments and solutions.
Does your second toe have a bend in the joint that looks unnatural? Are any toes sticking up when you take off your shoe? You may have a hammertoe. Hammertoes are toes that have abnormal bends in the joints. They’re in the shape of hammers.
Women are more likely to have hammertoes and typically they occur on the toe next to the big toe, although they may be present on any toe. When shoes are worn that crowd your toes, the second toe is usually forced upward to make room. Over time, the ligaments harden and eventually the toe will not lie flat, even when barefoot. Hammertoes may cause discomfort, pain or loss of mobility in the toe. The first line of defense in treating hammertoes is to change your shoes. Avoid high heels and shoes that are tight in the toe box, squeezing the toes together. There are many stylish comfort shoes available that will ease the discomfort associated with hammertoes. If you have more severe symptoms, you may benefit from the use of straighteners, pads, or other products designed specifically for hammertoe treatment.
Is your toe lying on top of the toe next to it? You probably have overlapping toes. Over time, the toe joints are affected, and pain and change in the performance of the foot are present if the overlapping toes are not corrected. Shoes with a wide and tall toe box are recommended for those who suffer from overlapping toes. Other products that may be used to align overlapping toes are toe straighteners, toe separators and toe spacers.
Crooked toes occur when toes become bent over time. The chief cause of crooked toes is ill-fitting shoes, or shoes with high heels or pointy toes. If you suffer from crooked toes, you may experience achiness, pain, or discomfort. You should make an effort to spread your toes whenever you are barefoot. This can easily be accomplished with the use of toe stretchers. Again, shoe choice is important- especially when the feet are forming during childhood. Be sure to wear shoes that give your toes plenty of space, and a shoes with stretchable uppers are ideal, because they give toes space to move.
There are many products on the market today that help alleviate discomfort and pain associated with toe issues that affect so many of us as we age. Obtain a diagnosis from a podiatrist or other health care provider if you experience any of these toe problems.