Hammer toe is painful. It is a bit unsightly but that is not the reason people want to get rid or it – it is the pain. Hammer toe occurs when the smaller toes curl back over the other toes. It is caused by a contracting of the tendons and muscles. So it is cured (and yes, it can be cured) by simple stretching. Folklore has it that hammer toe is caused by poor fitting shoes or more specifically shoes like high heels. But often it is just plain old muscle contraction.
The best way to solve it is:
1 – Exercise the toes. Simply wiggle them. Pick up paper or kleenex off the floor. The beauty of toe exercises is they can usually be done without people knowing – so at your desk or in your car. Wiggle the toes.
2 – Stretch to toes. Bunch them up and then gently flex them against the floor or another object. Then do the opposite. Curl them out and up and again flex them. One great book on stretching is The Stretch Deck.
3 – Although it is not usually caused by footwear – consider changing the footwear. Boring and comfortable footwear is the order of the day.
4 – Anti-inflamatories like tylenol, aspirin etc. For hammertoe, these need to be taken for a slightly longer timeframe – like 7-12 days. Dulling pain helps stop pain paths but do not solve the root problem. Combine them with the other suggestions.
5 – There are a number of simple (and relatively inexpensive products that can help. For example – the 3 toe loop. And – hammer toe cushions.
Although hammertoe is painful and seems critical, it does tend to solve itself over time. Especially if you follow the suggestions above.
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