What Makes Your Toes Curl? Hammer Toes Can Cause Serious Foot Pain

We’ve all heard the phrase, “enough to make your toes curl,” used in conversation about various happenings or events in life. The phrase is used to strongly emphasize whatever fact, so it is not taken lightly.  Moreover, that’s just how you should treat your toes if they curl in real life.  If your smaller toes buckle or curl, you can have some real pain and discomfort. Commonly called a hammertoe, this condition causes pain, and may eventually, make movement more difficult.

Hammer Toes

Your four smaller toes help with balance and movement as you walk or run.  As you walk, your foot flattens and the smaller toes bend to grip the ground.  Next, they become straight to help push your foot.  If you develop a condition known as hammertoe, the process of this movement can become difficult.

A hammertoe is one that buckles or curls under.  The joints at the end or middle of the toe can be affected.  Usually this curling occurs because of muscle imbalance.  Tendons may tighten causing the toe to curl.

Depending on the affected joint’s ability to move, hammertoes may be flexible or rigid.  Pain may or may not be present.  Sometimes you can straighten a hammertoe with your fingers.  For some, a hammertoe doesn’t cause a major problem with pain.  Still it is important to correct, as other problems can arise.

Hammer Toes Treatment

For mild symptoms, changing the shoes you wear may be all that is necessary to resolve the issue of a hammertoe.  Don’t wear tight hose, socks, or shoes.  Avoid wearing high heels.  Make sure your insoles are soft to help relieve pressure on the affected toe. Make sure your shoes are wide enough at the front to fit properly your foot.

For chronic, painful symptoms, further evaluation by a podiatrist may be necessary to relieve the issue.  Your podiatrist will do a physical exam of the affected toe and possibly take x-rays to determine the amount of deformity and whether or not arthritis is present.  Surgical procedures may be necessary to correct the hammertoe.  Only a trained podiatrist can recommend the appropriate treatment method for your particular situation.

At Triad Foot Center, we can help resolve all issues with your feet and ankles.  Don’t suffer with pain or discomfort.  Make an appointment today.

PubMed Health. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2011.