It's time for our weekly "Ask the Doctor" series. Run Charlotte Run is partnering with physicians and physical therapists from OrthoCarolina to answer any questions that our readers have about injuries, injury prevention and running healthy. If you have a question you'd like to submit for the series, please leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve been told I have a hammertoe and I am worried about it affecting my running. What should I do?
Hammertoes are not themselves dangerous. When we say ‘hammertoe’ it refers to the contracture, or bending, of one or both joints of your second, third, fourth or fifth (pinky) toes. It may look abnormal, and the shape of the toe can add pressure to the toe when you wear shoes, which can lead to problems over time. If the hammertoe(s) do not hurt, don't worry about it and continue on with your activities. If the toes are causing rubbing, then trying a shoe with a wider toebox or cloth top. Sometimes a simple metatarsal pad or an insole can help as well. So no, a hammertoe should not prevent you from running unless it causes discomfort. If the toe(s) create pain that prevents you from enjoying recreational activity, then surgery can become an option.
Dr. Robert Erdin is a Foot and Ankle Surgeon with OrthoCarolina and practices in the Concord location.