Correcting hammer toes & running

Written by heather vecchioni
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Correcting hammer toes & running
Running with hammertoes is possible if you take the appropriate steps. (Yagi Studio/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Running with hammertoe is a pain, literally. When running, your foot hits the ground some 800 times an hour, which can be excruciating if you are suffering from hammertoe. Hammertoe is a condition in which the toes are bent or contracted, caused by a misalignment of the foot. Although hammertoes can be genetic, they can also be caused by an imbalance of the tendons, which causes them to pull on the toes and make them bend. Whatever the cause, running with hammertoe can present quite a challenge. However, when the appropriate measures are taken, it is possible to enjoying running even if you have hammertoes.

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Things you need

  • Lamb's wool
  • Padding
  • Arch supports

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  1. 1

    Purchase shoes that are loose in the toes. Many cases of hammertoes are caused by shoes that are too short and force the toes to bend. As a result, the tendons in the foot often become shortened, causing the toes to become permanently bent. Shoes with room in the toe area allow the toes to stretch down and stay in their natural, flat positions.

  2. 2

    Wrap lamb's wool around your toes if they have developed corns on the tops as a result of the hammertoe. Lamb's wool can be worn for three or four days without changing and will prevent the corns from rubbing up against the shoes.

  3. 3

    Place padding underneath your toes if corns have developed on the tips. Doing so will keep the corns from hitting the shoe when you run.

  4. 4

    Place arch supports in your shoes. Such devices will often correct biomechanical problems in your feet that are causing the hammertoes. Look for supports that are designed specifically for those with hammertoes.

Tips and warnings

  • Lamb's wool and arch supports are typically available at most pharmacies.
  • Hammertoe problems can usually be managed if treated early; however, more advanced stages are often corrected only with surgery.

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