Ball of the Foot Pain
Second Toe Pain due to a Hammer Toe [Causes & Best Home Treatment]
Do you have second toe pain due to a hammer toe? There are 3 types of toe deformity: #1) A hammer toe, #2) A claw toe or #3) A mallet toe: FIX THEM NOW!
- 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!
Second Toe Pain due to a Hammer Toe [Causes, Symptoms & Best Treatment] Overview:
- Hammer Toe, Claw Toe and Mallet Toe deformities are extremely common causes of second, third and fourth toe pain in that order.
- In most cases the condition can be linked to flat foot, poor biomechanics and poor choice in foot wear.
- This guide will help you understand how the claw, hammer and mallet toe deformities develop.
- We will go over what kinds of problems these conditions may cause and the treatment options that are available.
How does the deformity cause toe pain?
- The base of the toe starts at what is called the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) for each toe and then each toe is individually made up of 3 bones called the phalanges (the proximal, intermediate and distal phalange- from the closest to furthest).
- The MTPJs are the ball of the foot, the inter-phalangeal joints (PIPJs and DIPJs) make up the digits themselves; each of these joints are held together by the joint capsule.
- Muscles insert at the far aspect of the toes from the top and bottom and can make the toes flex and extend when the muscles are put into action.
- In the Hammer toe, Claw Toe and Mallet Toe deformities there is an uneven balance between the muscles at the top of the foot and the bottom of the foot due to previous injuries like flat foot, the shoes you have been wearing and likely due to improper walking as a results to other injuries problems over the years.
- The difference between a hammer toe, claw toe and mallet toe is simply which of the joints are bent, but to you it likely does not matter because the treatments are the same for all of these problems.
Symptoms of a Painful Second Hammer Toe:
- Crooked second toe.
- Pain on top of the second toe.
- Pain at the Bottom of the second toe.
- Pain at the end of the second toe.
Causes of a Painful Second Hammer Toe:
- The number one cause of hammer toes is the development of a flat foot and the second biggest cause is improper footwear.
- These are both preventable and treatable conditions as long as the hammer toe is still bendable.
- If the hammer toe is rigid, then a surgical consult with your podiatrist may be recommended.
1) Flat foot:
- Flat feet are caused by many factors including injury, obesity and improper footwear, follow our guide on how to prevent and treat flat feet.
- A flat foot alters the direction and pull of the muscles and tendons leading to the toe.
2) Improper footwear:
- Tight shoes and high heels can compress the second toe.
- This can cause the toe to bunch up and over time there is increased slack in the tendons and muscles that connect to the toes.
- These tendons do not stretch back to normal after the shoe is removed without some serious effort.
3) Poor flexibility:
- If you have poor flexibility through your ankle joint knee and hamstring, this will cause your foot to turn outward.
- This puts extensive pressure on the tendons below and above your small toes.
- This can cause hammer toes to develop.
4) Arthritis and other joints:
- If you have tightness and immobility and other joints, skin can lead to hammertoe.
- We frequently see patients develop hammer toes if they have knee, back or hip arthritis as well.
3 Types of Hammer Toe:
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