Swimmers have foot problems too!

Swimmers have foot problems too!

A hammer toe is not something swimmer, Gary Hall Sr., (10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flag-bearer) expected to suffer from but in 2010 he found himself seeking treatment for one. After all, what did swimming have to do with hammer toes?

Hammer toes can be flexible or rigid and look like an upside-down V when viewed from the side. Any of the second through fifth toes can be affected, but the condition commonly affects the second toe. When multiple toes are affected, they are sometimes referred to as claw toes.

Although there is no proven connection between swimming and hammer toes, apparently some swimmers have very flexible feet which can result in pronated (flat) feet—a causative factor in hallux valgus (bunions) which can subsequently lead to hammer toes. Other predisposing factors can be arthritis, tight-fitting or too-small shoes, a muscle imbalance or that they are inherited.

People with hammer toes tend to experience pain on the top of the bent joint from footwear pressure and possibly from a corn on the joint surface. Sometimes there is pain on the ball of the foot too because the bent toe pushes the joint at the base of the toe downward.

A flexible hammer toe is still treatable conservatively using a toe splint, soft padding or a silicon sleeve together with anti-inflammatory medication. If the underlying cause is slip-on or tight-fitting shoes, then it is advisable to invest in some shoes with a deep toe box and some kind of restraining strap or lace. If the cause is structural and fixed, a professional like Toronto-based Podiatrist, Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M. will be able to assess whether the condition is treatable with orthotics or whether a minimally invasive surgery is required.

The surgical options may include lengthening the tendon and straightening the bone through very small openings, which in most cases results in much less pain and swelling. Other techniques include straightening the toe with surgical implants made out of cortical bone that ultimately fuse with the existing bone.

 

Resources:

http://www.click2houston.com/news/new-procedure-corrects-painful-hammertoes/31960940

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2460212/Me-operation-An-end-misery-bent-painful-toes.html

http://swimswam.com/if-you-swam-and-now-suffer-from-halux-valgus-or-hammer-toe-read-this-olympic-testimonial/

http://www.apma.org/Learn/FootHealth.cfm?ItemNumber=1863