Ball of the Foot Pain
Claw Toe Deformity [Causes, Symptoms & Best Home Treatment]
Do you have a claw toe deformity? There are 3 crooked toe problems #1) Hammer toes, #2) Mallet toes & #3) Claw toe deformities. Learn how to FIX THEM!
- Metatarsalgia: which means generalized foot pain without a specific cause.
- Second toe capsulitis: this is the inflammation of the second toe joint capsule.
- Capsulitis is related to hammertoe formation, and can lead to a plantar plate tear. There is some overlap between these three disorders. As they get worse tearing and ligament damage can occur.
- Morton’s neuroma: this is the damage and inflammation to the nerves between and underneath the metatarsal joints.
- Fat pad atrophy of the ball of the foot: this is the loss of cushioning in the ball the foot.
So, click on the photo gallery to see the specific causes of your ball of the foot pain!
Click on the photo gallery to see the specific causes of your ball of the foot pain!
Claw Toe Deformity [Causes, Symptoms & Best Treatment] Overview:
- A claw toe deformity is a condition where the toes curl onto themselves.
- It usually happens to the four smaller toes but not the big toe.
- The toe is initially bendable but eventually will become rigid, unbend-able and will then need surgery.
- This may take years & often occurs with a bulge on the inside of the big toe joint known as a bunion.
- It is very possible to prevent the toes from becoming rigid and avoiding surgery altogether by trying these conservative methods first.
What Is A Claw Toe?
- Aka Hammer Toe Deformity, Claw Toe Deformity & Mallet Toe Deformity
- Each of the small toes are composed of three bones, and 3 joints, the joint closest to the foot bends up and the other two joints bend down.
- This bending is due to tightening of the muscles at the top and bottom of the toe that are flexed abnormally.
- The joints are initially flexible and can be corrected without surgery, so it is essential that you try these methods because over a period of months or years the hammer toe will become rigid and the only way to correct the deformity at that point is with surgery.
- If a hammertoe begins to develop corns and calluses on top of the toe and at the tip of the toe this leaves you are risk for bleeding underneath the callus, ulceration as well as extreme pain and your feet tiring out more quickly.
- The toe will likely also become swollen and bruised.
- Shoes that are too short & Shoes that are too thin.
- In women due to high heels without orthotic control.
- Use a Brannock device to measure your shoes properly. WATCH VIDEO
- Disuse of the toes for a long time
- Poor blood flow(Peripheral vascular disease)
- Injury such as a broken toe
- Congenital problems or nerve injury(Stroke or back injury) – must see a doctor
- Associated with arthritis, gout or diabets – best to see a doctor
Treatment of Claw Toe Deformities:
- In the early stages of hammer toes, if the toe can still be straightened, then these home remedies can be tried.
- Use a Brannock Device to properly measure your shoes.WATCH VIDEO
- It is essential to have a wide and deep toe box when trying on a shoe. Find the right set of shoes for Hammer toes. A comfortable, well-fitted shoe offers you the best chance of relieving pain in the foot or toe that is caused by the hammertoe & may prevent it from getting worse. A spacious wide and deep toe box is essential. WATCH VIDEO
- Try your shoes on in the evening to make sure that your feet are at maximum swelling, in the morning your feet have been elevated so your feet are the smallest they are during the day. It is not crazy to see a person go up a size or more from just the morning to the evening due to just swelling.
- Toe Rehabilitation: Towel and Marble exercises.
- Moleskin, pads, arch supports or other orthotic shoe inserts: with the right design it is possible to cushion the toes and prevent any pain at all or atleast reduce it dramatically. It is possible to prevent the deformity from worsening, but you really should go see a podiatrist for these. WATCH VIDEO
- Use gel caps or sleeves to cover the callus and prevent rubbing of the uneven part of the callus. If this stops all of your symptoms, it may be possible to delay or prevent surgery. WATCH VIDEO
- Have your corns or calluses removed. It is possible to get over the counter or prescription that smooth out and soften the painful calluses and corns. There are also some home methods for removing calluses that you can try ahead of time. WATCH VIDEO.
- Taping or splinting of a hammer toe – Gently wrap the tape under and around the bit toe and around the second hammered little toe, this can be employed if the hammer to can still be bent. It does not correct it permanently but does hold it in a straight position. WATCH VIDEO
- Take an over the counter anti-inflammatory & pain relieving medication. This is not only to relieve pain but to also decrease inflammation and swelling in the toe therapeutically. WATCH VIDEO
- Exercises to stretch the toes out and to also strengthen the muscles under the foot (to counteract the tightness of the top tendons). Gently elongate the toes and hold this stretch for 15 seconds 3 times in the morning and again for 15 seconds 3 times in the evening. Try this for 2 weeks to see if this is having any effect on you. It could have a great effect on delaying surgery, many people have found this very effective. WATCH VIDEO
- Padding or corn plasters can be used to ease the discomfort of any associated corns and calluses. This is a very cheap and effective alternative. WATCH VIDEO
- If this fails or if treatment is not sought until the toes are permanantly misaligned, then surgery may be required. Surgery may involve either cutting the tendon or fusing the joint.
What can a Podiatrist do for you:
- Further diagnosis if home treatment is not resolving the claw to deformity or the mallet toe deformity.
- Moleskin, pads, arch supports or other orthotic shoe inserts: with the right design it is possible prevent pain and symptoms in even the most rigid conditions.
- See a podiatrist to remove your corns or calluses for you. It is possible to get prescription topical medications and pads that greatly decrease friction and pain.
- Toe Rehabilitation: Towel and Marble exercises.
- Congenital conditions should be treated in early childhood with manipulations and splinting. A podiatrist can get you set up with this.
- Surgery if the hammer toe is rigid
- Arthroplasty(Phalangeal head resection).
- Joint Fusion(Arthrodesis).
- Release of the tendons or ligaments.
Ball of the Foot Pain Treatment Infographic:
Ball of the Foot Home Treatment:
- Consider taping, orthotics and great shoes as a combination to fix your foot problem.
- Products are not always necessary to fix your problem.
- The key is correcting the biomechanics that are leading to forefoot overload. Foot overload means too much pressure in the ball of the foot.
- Generally something called ankle joint equinus can lead to a too much pressure in the ball of your foot. This means your ankle is not flexible enough to move up and down.
- Ball of the foot pain treatment consists of two phases, first is control inflammation, next is to control bio-mechanics.
Remove Control Inflammation:
Massage & Ice Products:
- The metal ball is one of my personal favorites.
- This works great for your arch, less for the ball of the foot.
- These can help relax the arch or heel ligaments, leading to less pressure in the ball of the foot.
- Pills, creams and ice will never completely fix your problem alone. What they will do is reduce the pressure on the area.
Menthol Based Gels:
- Biofreeze is one of our favorites.
- These gels have been studied to work 2x as long as ice.
- This works great for the ball of the foot.
- Consider using these as options when resting on the couch or going to sleep at night.
- These can work great for loosening your muscles.
- This is means for your hamstring and calf muscles. This can loosen the ankle tightness putting pressure on the ball of your foot.
- This allows less tightness and pressure on the ball of your foot.
Ball of the Foot Stress Relief.
- The key is to prevent future pain.
- If you can get rid of the pain and swelling, this will let you start walking normally.
- If you can walk normally, the vast majority of your pain should gradually start to go away.
- This means proper cushion, proper stability and pressure relief from the front of your foot.
- This will relieve pressure from your big toe, your 2nd toe, your Morton’s neuroma, your plantar plate, hammer toes and joint capsules.
Best Metatarsalgia Shoes:
- Getting a great supportive pair of shoes will make sure that there is pressure removed from the ball of your foot.
- This is especially important if you have a metatarsalgia, a Morton’s neuroma, 2nd metatarsal overload syndrome and capsulitis!
- Consider shoes combined with a good supportive orthotic for best pain relief!
- The following link will show you what our favorites are.
Best Ball of the Foot Insoles:
- These are our recommended orthotics & insoles.
- There are different types for different shoes.
- Women’s shoes usually need a less bulky orthotic, but allow for less correction.
- A full length orthotic requires a running shoe, boot or comfortable walking/dress shoe.
Best Full Length Orthotics:
- Full length orthotics are the most recommended type for ball of the foot pain.
- Be aware that if they are too uncomfortable, it might be worth starting with a less corrective pair.
- Eventually you can then work your way up to these.
Best Dress Shoe Orthotics:
- These are a stronger option for shoes with tight dress shoes.
- Just be aware that less corrective orthotics & tight shoes are usually not a good combination.
Best 3/4 Length Orthotics:
- These may be a good option for ball of the foot if the full length orthotics are too tight or too uncomfortable.
Get A Great Dynamic Stretch:
- It is possible to stretch on your own, but these products can also really help!
- Personally I have the stationary block set up in my kitchen to stretch every day multiple times while getting my coffee!
- This will take pressure off of the ball of your foot.
Ball of the Foot Pain