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Diplomate, American Board of Podiatric Surgery

Diplomate, American Board of Podiatric Surgery

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Can tight shoes or high heels cause a hammertoe?

No. A hammertoe develops because of an abnormal balance in the mechanics of the toe muscles, which leads to increased stresses on the tendons and joints of the toe, producing the bend in the toe (called a contracture). It is inaccurate to say that tight shoes or high heels cause a hammertoe; rather, tight shoes or high heels may contribute to excess pressure on a hammertoe and the resulting pain one experiences because of that pressure.

Once a hammertoe is formed, tight shoes or high heels often contribute to the formation of a corn, which is thick skin that develops on pressure points, most commonly on, and between, the toes. And the corn itself often becomes painful. Corn pads can be used to manage the pain or even regulate the pressure to stop corns from forming in the first place.

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