Hammertoe results from a muscle imbalance that tightens and shortens the ligaments and tendons in the toe. This draws the toe downward with the middle joint bent and creates the characteristic hammertoe deformity. This typically occurs from wearing shoes that fit too tightly and have a tight toe box, which does not allow for sufficient space for the toes. The incidence of hammertoe is higher in females due to their wearing of high heel shoes. The design of most high-heel shoes not only allows limited room for the toes but forces them against the front of the toe box, bending the toes and not allowing them to lay flat. The chronic bending of toes leads to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons becoming permanently fixed in a bent position. This condition can also be present in individuals with arthritis or diabetic complications such as diabetic neuropathy.
Preventatives for Hammertoe
To potentially prevent getting hammertoe, make sure you are wearing the proper footwear. Proper footwear includes shoes that have the appropriate toe box size for your specific foot characteristics. This will provide the space required to keep your toes uncrowded. It is also advised to avoid wearing high heels if possible. This is a significant preventative step.
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