We throw on a pair of shoes every time we lead the house, but if you are dealing with a new or chronic toe condition, slipping your foot into a pair of shoes can be pretty uncomfortable. But what could be causing this new discomfort, and more importantly, how can you treat the issue? In today’s blog, we take a closer look at five toe conditions that can cause discomfort when wearing shoes.
My Shoes Make My Toes Hurt
Since ill-fitting shoes are oftentimes a factor for painful toe conditions, it’s important to take a closer look at your shoes to ensure they are providing enough space and support for your toes. However, if you’ve noticed that your toes have a visible deformity or they have begun to hurt when putting them in a supportive pair of shoes, you may be dealing with one of these common toe issues:
- Bunion – One of the most common toe deformity issues is a bunion, which typically develops when the big toe joint at the base of your big toe starts to shift out of its natural alignment. Injuries and tight shoes can put stress on the joint and force it out of a healthy alignment, oftentimes leading to the formation of a bony prominence on the side of the base of your big toe. As this bunion juts out, it can rub against the side of your shoe and cause discomfort. Switching shoes to a roomier option can help alleviate symptoms and prevent progression, but the only way to reset your big toe to a normal alignment is with a minimally invasive corrective procedure, so prevention is much preferred to treatment.
- Hammertoes – If your shoes are too tight, they can force your toes to bend in order for the foot to fit inside this shoe. Forcing your toes to remain in this stressed and bent position can cause irreversible damage to the soft tissues that help your toes lay flat, forcing them into a bent position even when you’re not wearing shoes. This is known as a hammertoe, and the sooner you start preventing and treating the soft tissue injury, the more likely that you can keep the bend from becoming permanent. A surgeon can address the ligaments and tendons in a stiff hammertoe, which will help the toe regain some flexibility.
- Claw Toes – Claw toes are oftentimes mistaken for hammertoes, but they develop when injury or muscle imbalances cause your toes to start to curl downward, almost underneath itself. This is another issue that can be caused by shoes that are too tight, but you may also be genetically predisposed to the condition based on your foot shape. They can range from asymptomatic to severely uncomfortable, and similar to the above conditions, if they do not respond to conservative care, a surgical procedure may be recommended.
- Ingrown Toenail – If bacteria make their way under your nail bed, an infection can develop, causing significant discomfort as the area inflames and fluid develops. Shoes can be a thriving host for bacteria, but it usually takes an injury to the nail or a poorly cut nail with a trimmer to allow bacteria underneath the tough nail bed. You can try to fix the nail by soaking the area and allowing it to get back on a natural growth track, otherwise your doctor can surgically remove a portion of the offending nail to relieve pressure.
- Arthritis – Finally, joint degeneration in the toe can make movement and walking uncomfortable. If your toes have become uncomfortable when you’re wearing shoes or when you’re simply walking around the house, reach out to a foot specialist like Dr. McDonald. We can set you up with some therapy exercises and develop a comprehensive treatment plan that relieves symptoms and limits further arthritic progression.
For more information about any of these issues, or to talk with a specialist about a toe or foot problem that you’re dealing with, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.