Category Archives: Foot Pain

Claw Toes Cross Toes Foot Pain Hammer Toes Health Tips Mallet Toes

Hammer Toe, Claw Toe, Mallet Toe, Cross Toe and Foot Pain – Part 2

Picture a 4 legged chair with only three legs touching the floor – its unstable and unsafe.

Next, think of your foot like a five digit basket ball team with one player, (Toeny) unable to play because of an injury. Over the course of a lifetime, playing a five toe game with a 4 toe team isn’t going to go end well. The four toes are over worked trying to do an impossible job, accomplishing what 5 guys were designed to do. The game breaks down quickly. Just one toe not functioning (for up to decades) is a major compounding factor in weakness and decline of the entire musculo-skelatel system’s capabilities and safety. Everything impacts everything, especially when the foundation (feet) are the primary point of breakdown. “For want of a nail the kingdom was lost” ( google it ).

Another simple analogy;  picture of a tug of war where one side wins constantly, or a playground “see saw” with one side always heaver than the the other. Muscles on the flexion side of the Hammer toe (bottom side) being stronger than the extension side of the toe (top). This imbalance results in a constantly bent (flexed) toe. The top of the toe rises when flexed. To make matters worse the raised toe knuckle typically is in contact with the top, inside of the shoe experiencing constant pressure and irritation and resulting in another problem.

Cause of  toe muscle imbalance

By far the most common cause of muscle imbalance in toes is too much time in shoes and not enough bare foot time. The worst shoes are shoes with pointed toes, shoes that are too short, or high heels. These conditions will force your toe against the front of the shoe, pushing the toe back and bending the joints up.

Hammertoe can also result from trauma and in some cases, hammertoes have a genetic predisposition. In these cases all the more reason to start taking good care of your wheels early on with toe stretching and exercise!

Repairing bent toes

To rescue and repair toes we use the same tools to straighten a curved spine or repositioning forward sloping shoulders. It’s all about stretching and strengthening muscles to change the posture of your toes. These are the same principles Hatha Yoga brings to the rest of the body to maintain and return it to natural, healthy posture. Yes! Yoga Toe posture!

To fix toes requires being sincere about it and there are major reasons why you do want to halt and reverse claw & hammer toe evolution.

First – Pain! Hammer toe pain cuts into everything you do on your feet …or would like to do. Constant often intense irritation every time you wear shoes. Second is inflammation,  burning and possible infection leading more serious complications. Third, corns and calluses caused by constant friction with the shoe. Then there’s the fashion problem: Claw toes don’t compliment sandals, the beach and pedicures.

The S word  – Toe Surgery

Hammer toes that are ignored and allowed to progress result in a toe that may have become extremely rigid and painful. They have become a risk to overall health because of  inflammation, inability to heal do to constant irritation, and most significant, unstable, deteriorating mobility. In these unlucky cases the risks of surgery may be acceptable.

Have questions? contacts us at 877-964-2776 or at

Here’s one reason ABC news offers to keep your keyboard capable toes typing ready!

Frederic Ferri -Inventor of YogaToes

Claw Toes Cross Toes Foot Pain Hammer Toes Health Tips Mallet Toes

Hammer Toe, Claw Toe, Mallet Toe, Cross Toe and Foot Pain – Part 1

Diagram showing the difference between Hammer and Claw toes

Straight toe talk to help you de-claw those despicable talon toes.

What Is a hammer toe?

A Hammertoe is an abnormal, continuously bent toe (flexed). It can be one or both joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes. When the joints (knuckles) in the hammertoe bend this also moves the toe joints upward. Thats because the tip of the toe is forced downward, and often curls under, closer to the ball of the foot. This makes the first toe “knuckle” higher than the neighboring, unaffected toes. This also produces painful and irritating contact with the shoe.

Hammertoes get worse with time, contracting more and becoming increasingly rigid. This causes increased pain and disability. In the earlier stages, Hammertoes (like bunions) are still flexible. Hammertoes in most all cases don’t arrive over night. It is a slowly evolving condition. The longer Hammer toes’s (and Bunions) exist without an effective foot and toe stretch exercise program,  the more rigid they become, same as any other joint in our body. Toes living their lives in shoes get the least amount of proper exercise of any joint system in the body.

To make matters worse, we hide our feet for protection and for fashion inside tight shoes. To compound matters further, our feet are located at the outer reaches, the most distant orbits on our heavenly body. Out of sight, out of mind.  However, the most significant obstacle our feet face is a black hole of understanding that keeps us poorly informed and in the dark.

Only recently has the hammer toe and bunion business been liberated from the lockstep monopoly of  “Wait and see if it gets worse” (and of course it will) and “we can schedule surgery if it doesn’t improve”. The product of the “wait” approach has been to live with the pain, embarrassment and disability until it progresses to a severe stage. Then an invasive procedure almost sounds commonsensical.

An informative way to understand Hammer Toes is to view them as a vertical Bunions (up & down VS sideways). Both are caused by improper and constant pressure without counterbalancing stretch and exercise program. The pressure results in permanent muscle imbalances in the toe. If muscle balance  in your toes is disrupted, your ability to skillfully and safely balance your body is disrupted.


Instead of pushing the toe sideways toward the center of the foot as with a bunion, Hammertoe pressure is pushing the toe backwards, toward the ball of the foot. The toe has no choice but to bend up and thats the beginning of a hammer toe. No room in the end of your shoes for five toes to fit, so one or more volunteer to bend, shorten and lift up. Viola’, Hammer toe!

Frederic Ferri -Inventor of YogaToes

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