Throughout October you can catch free live music concerts under the stars at the Civic Center Park Amphitheatre in Palm Desert, CA. It’s a great way to spend a fall evening – bring a blanket and picnic basket too. If you are living with painful hammertoes, though, even a relaxing evening such as this may seem like too much if you have to walk a long way to get to the venue. This condition can be painful, and if left untreated, will only get worse. Luckily, exercises for hammertoes can help alleviate discomfort and slow progression.
Hammertoes start out flexible, but can become stiff and rigid, which is often when the discomfort really sets in. This deformity can be made worse with poorly fitting shoes, but most often stems from a muscle imbalance in the foot. Exercises that target certain muscle groups can help reduce how severely the toes curl and prevent them from becoming rigid.
Tight calf muscles limit movement of the ankle joint, which then alters how the foot moves. Over time, the abnormal movement can cause repeated strain and lead to the development of hammertoes. So, stretch those calves! Lean into a wall, step one leg back and press your heel to the floor while keeping your knee straight, then switch legs. This will lengthen the calf muscles and reduce your risk.
Other exercises focus solely on the toes. First, try 10-12 reps of tapping the four smaller toes up and down while keeping the big toe flat on the floor. Second, do 10-12 toe crunches by placing the ball of your foot on a towel that is flat on the floor and crunching the towel with your toes. Third, sit down with your legs straight out in front of you, then wrap a towel around your toes and gently pull the towel towards you. Hold for 30 seconds.
If you are wondering, “What’s with the bump on my toes?” it is likely a corn developing from friction caused by the bent position of your deformity. This is common and can add to your discomfort. Don’t wait until your toes are stiff and painful and have corns before doing something about the problem. To learn more exercises for hammertoes, contact Dr. Harvey Danciger, DPM for effective treatment—call our office in Palm Desert, CA at (760) 568-0108.
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