If you believe that you have a hammer toe — a toe that is noticeably bent so that its knuckle sits well above the other toes on your foot — it's a good idea to schedule a visit with a local podiatrist. This foot doctor will not only be able to confirm if you indeed have this issue but also talk about the various ways to help it. While surgery is an option in severe cases, you might be able to avoid surgery through some simple changes. Your podiatrist can not only give you exercises to work on but will also almost certainly recommend that you make some footwear changes. Here are some changes they'll suggest.
When a shoe is so short that your toes are pressing against the end of it, this pressure can worsen a hammer toe by causing it to bend further. If you continue to wear poorly fitting shoes, it's possible that the condition will worsen to the point of eventually requiring surgery to correct it. One thing that your podiatrist will recommend is that you buy shoes that are a little longer. Having a bit of space between the end of the shoe and your toes will remove pressure from the hammer toe.
Some shoes are very short, with their top resting directly on the top of the foot. Other shoes are taller, offering a small gap over the toes. A hammer toe can often be uncomfortable, and shoes that put pressure on the toes from above can exacerbate this discomfort. Your podiatrist will almost certainly recommend that you choose shoes that offer more height, particularly over the toes. There are all sorts of shoes that are roomy in this way, which should help to alleviate some of the discomfort you may be accustomed to while walking.
If you're experiencing discomfort as a result of your hammer toe, your podiatrist might recommend that you begin wearing shoes that are more flexible. Stiff shoes may look stylish, but they can sometimes be uncomfortable to walk in — which is the last thing you need when your toe is already sore. Flexible shoes are typically more comfortable to wear. In addition to making these recommendations, your podiatrist will likely be able to refer you to specific brands and models of shoes that they believe will be good for you. Reach out to a local foot doctor to get help for this issue.