Pain in your feet and toes can have a severe impact on your daily life, making it difficult to even walk. In this article, we are going to dive into a couple common foot deformities that can benefit from physical therapy.
Toe Problems and Physical Therapy
These two types of toe conditions tend to respond well to physical therapy so long as intervention occurs early enough:
- Hammertoes – A hammertoe is a condition in which the first MTP joint in your foot is cocked upwards, while the middle joint is bent downward. This condition often develops in patients who wear shoes that are too small, especially if their second toe is longer than their big toe. Many individuals fit their shoes to their big toe, and if this puts pressure on the second toe, it forces the toe upward and can shift the joint into that position over time. If you notice that your second or third toes are bending upwards, head to a physical therapist’s office. While new shoe choices are key, so too is strengthening the joint with targeted exercises and helping preserve motion in the joint that can be lost because of the prolonged joint stress.
- Claw Toes – Claw toes are very similar to hammertoes, but the difference lies in how the second toe joint is affected by the pressure it is being exposed to. With claw toes, the first MTP joint is cocked upwards, and the second and third joints are curled downwards, giving it a claw-like appearance. The condition is treated very similarly to hammertoes, and again it responds best to early intervention when the muscles and joints are still more flexible. Therapy works on relaxing these areas so that the joints can shift back into their natural location. Range of motion exercises also help to preserve flexibility and function in the joint.
The key with these toe issues is early intervention and treatment. The longer you allow these small joints in your feet to be affected, the tougher it is going to be to reverse the damage that’s been done.