Ill-fitting shoes will produce discomfort as a result of excessive looseness or skin chafing and cause abnormal walking. Incorrect walking causes abnormal strain on muscles and ligaments in the feet and legs and also an alteration on weight distribution, which may in turn lead to back or spinal problems. Stiletto heels or very high heels are also undesirable. As well as the risk of ankle sprains because of general instability of gait, high heels also force the toes downwards. This cramps the front part of the foot and alters the distribution of weight and the use of muscles, a situation which may lead to leg and back problems. Based in London, Charlotte Waterworth has been writing about health since 2000. Her work has appeared in trade magazines, including "Independent Community Pharmacist," "Pharmafocus," "Current Drug Discovery" and "Hospital Healthcare Europe." She is a member of the European Medical Writers Association. She holds an honors Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and a doctoral degree in gene therapy, both from Cardiff University. This strengthens the theory that the raptor dinosaur carried its giant toe off the ground—an idea already supported by raptor tracks that lack claw marks, according to the study, published September 19 in the journal PLoS ONE. You can treat hammer, claw, and mallet toes at home by wearing footwear with lots of room for your toes, using pads and supports in the shoe, and doing toe exercises. Doing these things will give the toe room to straighten, cushion the toe and hold it straight, and make the toe muscles stronger and more flexible. You can use over-the-counter medicine to treat pain. If your pain is too great or you cannot easily do daily activities, then surgery is possible. But there is not much research on surgeries for these toe problems. Talk to your doctor about the types of surgeries and how much they may help you. Wearing properly fitted shoes will help to prevent Hammer Toe from occurring. Shoes should be big enough so that the toes are not squeezed together or pushed into the shoe. Shoes should also be 1/2 inch longer than the big toe or second toe, if the second toe is the longest toe. Symptoms of Hammer Toe include, but are not limited to, foot pain, which usually is more painful in the joint of the big toe where it joins the foot. There may also be corns on the top of the toe, calluses on the sole of the foot, or a deformity of the affected toe that appears as claw-like. You may have pain or tenderness in the affected joint. It may be painful to walk and difficult to maintain your balance. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, both feet will be affected equally. The Arthritis Foundation states that you may develop a limp, putting more stress on other areas of the body. Stiffness and Swelling It’s easy to take your feet for granted. Day after day they perform without a hitch until that one day when something is just not right. Sit in a busy podiatrist’s office one day and watch the people hobble in on crutches canes, splints and bandages, and you’ll quickly get the drift of this problem This site is designed to help you and to provide information on the causes and treatment of hammer toes and claw toes. First and foremost, we would advise all visitors who suspect they have a hammer toe or claw toe to consult their GP for a comprehensive diagnosis and advice on treatment options. Your GP will probably recommend consulting with a chiropodist or an orthopaedic surgeon who specialise in foot and ankle surgery. Fingers and toes demonstrate the masterful engineering that is to be found in human and primate anatomy. For the purposes of discussion, we will focus on toes, but the design is similar for each.