Hammertoes are the contraction or bending of toes caused by an imbalance in muscles/tendons. When you look down at your bare feet, and the toes are not flat on the floor, you probably have hammertoes. There are two joints in each toe except the big toe, which only has one. When one joint in the toe contracts, it’s a hammertoe. The bending of both joints is a claw toe. The second toe can sometimes contract at the distal joint, called a mallet toe. The second toe can also become a hammertoe as a direct result of a bunion deformity.
Natural ways to improve hammertoes:
- Strengthen the toes. Practice picking up marbles or a towel with your toes. Heel and toe raise, yoga, and barefoot walking in safe places will also strengthen the toes. Perform passive range of motion exercises. Use your hands to move both joints in the toe up and down.
- Hammertoe splints and crest pads can be helpful.
- Wear shoes that are wide and deep . Rubbing of a hammertoe on the top of the shoe can cause corns and wounds.
- Custom orthotics & over-the-counter arch supports.
- Realignment changes the biomechanics of the foot and can result in the improvement of hammertoes.
- Epsom salt and warm water soak can soothe toes if they become stiff and painful.
Avoid narrow and shallow shoes.