Your foot aches when you slip it into shoes. You can’t walk without a stab of pain, and your toes are curled awkwardly. Hammertoes are sometimes a genetic condition, or the result of wearing poorly-fitting shoes for long periods or even wear and tear from aging.
The pain of untreated hammertoes is consistent and there’s little relief available. What measures you take short of seeking doctor intervention are temporary, but massaging your sore feet can relax your muscles and offer a much-desired break from the pain and discomfort.
Talk to a Doctor
You may be hesitant to seek medical attention for your hammertoes because you flinch at the idea of surgery. However, you shouldn’t be nervous; surgery is typically outpatient and requires little recovery time — and it fixes the problem. But not all hammertoe treatment requires surgery. Contact My Beautiful Feet and schedule an appointment today.
A specialist in hammertoes can help you work out a pain management regimen that doesn’t require surgery. Your doctor may recommend padded shoes, different-fitting shoes, toe exercises and/or medication to manage the discomfort. It’s important to meet with a doctor before starting any regular massage routines to avoid further injuring the toes and aggravating your condition.
Meet With a Reflexologist
Before you start massaging your feet at home, it’s best to meet with an expert to see what massage techniques are most effective for your condition. After meeting with your doctor and getting approval for feet massages, schedule an appointment with a reflexologist.
Reflexology is the art of applying pressure to certain points of the body for whole-body relief, and it focuses heavily on the feet. A reflexologist has experience relieving foot discomfort. If you enjoy the sessions, continue to meet with a reflexologist regularly while youpractice simpler massage techniques between sessions at home.
One basic pain-relieving massage technique you can try at home is toe squeezing. Sit comfortably with your back supported and drape your foot over your opposite thigh. Push your fingers through the spaces between your toes or start with one hammertoe, placing a finger on either side.
Apply gentle pressure at the base of the toes and squeeze the toes together with your fingers for 10 seconds. Release the pressure for five seconds and squeeze again. Repeat as many times as you like.
Sit in a comfortable chair with back support, bringing your afflicted foot to rest on your thigh. Grab the bottom of the hammertoe on the front and back of the foot simultaneously, using your thumb in the front and a finger in the back.
Squeeze the toe gently and rub the fingers across the toe in a circular motion, moving upward toward the nail of the toe and pausing over the joints to apply added pressure. Repeat the circular motion moving downward. Repeat as often as you’d like.
Rubbing the Sole
By massaging the sole of the feet, you’ll encourage the tense muscles in your hammertoes to loosen. Focusing on the soles instead of the afflicted toes themselves is an especially effective option for those who find massaging the toes directly causes too much discomfort. Support your back, sit up straight and cradle your foot on your thigh.
Grab the top of the foot, right below the toes, with your thumb on the sole of the foot. Rub your thumb in a circular motion across the sole of the foot, working your way downward.
Your reflexologist may point out that tight muscles in the foot, calf and ankle area can cause added strain on your hammertoes, so work your calf muscles when you do your massage routines at home. Ask a friend to squeeze and rub your calves for you while lying down, or purchase a massaging tool with additional reach and run it up and down your calves from a sitting or standing position.
These massages can give you relief from hammertoes, but remember, relying on a massage to soothe the pain and discomfort associated with hammertoes is a temporary measure. As the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons explains, hammertoes never heal without intervention.
If chronic pain prompts you to opt for regular massages, it’s healthier for you to deal with the problem once and for all so you can get back to walking without pain. Schedule a consultation with a hammertoe expert to get a better idea of all of your treatment options.