Toe deformities

If genetically predisposed, wearing shoes that are too tight can cause lasting toe deformities. Hallux valgus (a 'bunion'), hammer toe and claw toe are common.

Overview

If genetically predisposed, wearing shoes that are too tight can cause lasting toe deformities. Hallux valgus (a 'bunion'), hammer toe and claw toe are common. Painful calluses form that can make it difficult to walk. Wearing suitable shoes can prevent these conditions.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

Hallux valgus (bunion)
  • The big toe tilts over towards the other toes and a lump forms on the inside of the foot
  • Pain caused by shoe pressure and when moving the big toe joint
  • The neighbouring toes are pushed to the side, which can lead to hammer toes
Hammer toe
  • The toe has an abnormal upward bend in its middle joint and is fixed in this position
  • The end of the toe is flat on the ground; the toe nail points upward
  • A painful corn develops on the top of the middle joint
Claw toe
  • Resembles what it looks like when you clench your fist: the toes are curled and bent in this position
  • The toe nail of the affected toe points towards the floor
  • A painful corn develops on the top of the middle joint

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Hallux valgus (bunion): genetic predisposition and wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Hammer and claw toes develop as a result of a bunion

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • X-ray (to study bones)
Possible therapies
  • Insoles
  • Physiotherapy
  • Operation

What can I do myself?

  • Wear sufficiently wide shoes
  • No high heels
  • Train your foot muscles
    • Walk barefoot
    • Every now and again, walk on your heels and on your toes for a few metres

When to see a doctor?

  • Painfully deformed toes
  • Development of calluses / corns

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Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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