How Hammer Toe Can Change Runners’ Feet

Runners want to have even weight distribution throughout the feet, ankles, legs, and spine. Shoes that promote optimal weight distribution can help runners avoid painful injuries commonly associated with repeatedly pounding feet onto pavement, such as shin splints and other types of stress fractures.  Hammer Toe is a condition that can cause the middle toes to curl inward, thus making the even distribution of weight more challenging for runners. In addition, hammer toe can impact a runner’s form and stride.

When Runners Naturally Account For Hammer Toe

Runners with less severe cases of hammer toe are often able to run without substantial pain by unconsciously running with an atypical gait.  In order to combat the pain associated with putting repeated pressure on the affected toes, runners will often alter their stride to unevenly distribute weight toward the back of the foot or toward the part of the foot where the hammer toe has minimal impact. For example, a runner than experiences more severe hammer toe in the fourth toe may choose to favor putting pressure in the inside of the foot. Similarly, a runner that only experiences hammer toe in one foot might naturally tend to favor the other leg.

Consequences of Uneven Weight Distribution Due to Hammer Toe

The ankles, shins, knees, hips, and spine can all be impacted by uneven weight distribution when running long distances regularly.  Various muscles and ligaments can be overused, and other running-related injuries can arise. The risk of tearing ligaments or experiencing more substantial injuries also rises when running with hammer toe that has not been addressed.

Hammer Toe Concerns For Competitive Runners

Hammer toe can prevent competitive runners from reaching their full athletic potential. The chronic deformity can get worse over time and substantially impact the ability to run long distances or run at all. It is suggested that all runners explore the nature of the injury and plausible options with a podiatrist that specializes in treating foot injuries.

How to Treat Hammer Toe

Visiting a podiatrist is the first step to finding the best individualized treatment for hammer toe. Depending on a number of variables, podiatrists may suggest different treatments for runners.  Some runners may be able to successfully treat mild cases of hammer toe with minimally invasive or non-invasive treatments.  Other runners might opt for orthopedic surgery to correct the problem. Successfully treating hammer toe can help runners get back on the track without causing further injuries.

Hammer Toe Prevention Tips For Runners

It is important that runners ditch running shoes that repeatedly hit the toe.  Similarly, it is highly important that runners invest in shoes that are designed to evenly distribute weight when running. Running shoes used for training purposes should offer extra support for the foot, and running shoes that are lighter weight can be used periodically in competitions.  In addition, runners should consider what type of training shoe would be best to wear when running on steep trails that have rocks and present ample opportunities to stub toes or roll ankles.

Keep Even Weight Distribution in Feet when Running

One of the best ways to prevent running injuries is to take all necessary measures to evenly distribute weight when running.  Correct existing issues such as hammer toe, and invest in optimal footwear for training purposes.

Please feel free to contact Ella Gray at with any questions that you may have.

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1 Response to How Hammer Toe Can Change Runners’ Feet

  1. engines says:

    Today, I went to the beach front with my kids.
    I foynd a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She
    put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoLI know this is entirely off topic but I had
    to tell someone!

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