Some mistakes are little, while others are quite large. Missing your turn and having to double back or take an alternate route is generally a small error. Forgetting crucial paperwork at your job or failing to file your taxes are large ones. You can make errors that have dramatic effects on your health and comfort, too. In fact, many people make one regularly that contributes directly to deformities like hammertoes: wearing badly-fitting shoes.

Your shoes can be some of the most helpful tools your feet have, or contribute to their pain. It all depends on the style, the fit, and how well they support your feet. When they don’t fit correctly, your shoes can actually add to the pressure on your feet and create hammertoes.

Hammertoes occur when the tendons that control a digit end up unbalanced. Your foot has multiple connectors that work with your muscles to bend and straighten your toes. They work as opposites so one side isn’t tighter or stronger than the other. Sometimes, however, they can become unbalanced. The middle joint of the toe ends up stuck in a bent position like a hammer.

Shoes that don’t fit right can encourage this. If the toe box area is too short or even too narrow, the digits get pinched and crammed. One or more toes may end up in that bent position, unable to straighten in your shoe. If that continues for long enough, the strain on the tendons can make it more permanent.

Shoes with high heels or that direct excessive pressure onto the ball of the foot are culprits as well. Often they force the toes forward in the toe box, squishing them against the inside. The heavy pressure on the ball of the foot can add to the problem. Since this can aggravate the toe tendons over time, it may encourage them to become unbalanced and tight.

The key to preventing all of this and avoid giving yourself hammertoes is, of course, to wear footwear that fits. This means selecting styles that support your feet appropriately and have toe boxes that are both wide and long enough. If you’re at all concerned you may have a hammertoe already, don’t wait. Let our team at Carolina Podiatry Group check it out. Make an appointment at our South Carolina offices online, or call (803) 285-1411 in Lancaster or (803) 548-FEET (3338) in Indian Land.

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