In the spring of 1990, Stanley Kirk Burrell—better known as MC Hammer—stormed the charts with his hit dance single “U Can’t Touch This.” If Burrell had been a podiatrist instead of a musician—MC Hammertoes, DPM—he might have offered a similar analysis for selecting footwear for his namesake condition. You don’t want your shoes to be touching and rubbing against sensitive, painful spots.
Hammertoes are a foot deformity that can affect your middle toes. The digits arch up at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. Very frequently, corns can develop on the tops or tips of the toes due to the excess pressure or friction on those areas.
When selecting shoes for hammertoes, you want to look for a pair with deep, wide, tall toe boxes and curved forefoot soles that can accommodate the dimensions of your digits. Specially-made shoes for this condition usually feature lining on the roof of the toe box to reduce friction, but if you’re buying off the rack, you should always check to make sure there are no interior seams or ridges that can cause painful irritation. Straps or laces that allow you to adjust the depth manually can also be helpful.
Custom orthotics are often recommended, so your shoes should feature removable inserts and provide space for a custom alternative. A good orthotic will provide extra metatarsal support for your deformity, in addition to cushioning and support for the foot at large.
If you’re struggling with unsightly or painful hammertoes, call the experts at Family Foot & Ankle Center. We can evaluate your condition, discuss and provide treatment options, make shoe recommendations, develop a custom orthotic, and answer any other questions you might have. Give us a call at (513) 728-4800 in Ohio or (859) 282-1572 in Northern Kentucky.