This condition usually occurs in the second, third or fourth toe. The toe is bent or contracted. Also, the little toe is usually curved. Hammertoes aren't painful themselves; however, they rub against your shoes, and the friction and pressure can create a corn (a buildup of hard, thick tissue), which can be very painful.Causes
Hammertoes result from a misalignment of the foot. The condition may be inherited, but usually excessive overpronation causes the tendons of the toe to pull at a weird angle, making the toe bend. Gradually, the toe gets fixed in a bent position. A corn develops to protect the toe joint where it rubs against your shoe. Making this condition even worse are ill-fitting running shoes that rub against the toes.Treatment
It's best to catch the condition in its early stages, before the toe becomes fixed. Orthotic devices or arch supports can correct the biomechanical problem causing the hammertoe. You can also try an over-the-counter device called a hammertoe crest pad, which will help move your toe back into a normal position. Reduce corns with an emery board or sandpaper. If corns become too painful, cover them with moleskin. If your toe is in a fixed position, you either have to put up with the pain or undergo surgery to correct the contracted joint.Prevention
Motion-control shoes reduce overpronation. So do orthotics. In any event, make certain your running shoes are wide enough in the forefoot to prevent rubbing and the formation of a corn.Can you run with it?
You can continue to run if it is not too painful.
Run The Planet thanks Running The World for the permission to reprint the article “Fourteen common foot ailments and their cures”. Text copyright © 2001 by Running The World.