A great question was received this weekend from a hiker in Louisiana: I am not a runner but have been hiking with a backpack for over 19 years with a non painful bunion most of the time unless we travel too many miles in a day. My question is most recently I have begun to have pain in my second toe . It appears to be developing into a hammer toe. Are there non surgical things to do? Also who would be better to see a podiatrist or and orthopedic surgeon? Are there devices I could wear at night that might help?

Great question! Why is my second toe curling? What can I do about it? Who should I seek advice from?

In most circumstances, your second toe is curling because it is trying to stabilize your forefoot in gait. A bunion deformity (a.k.a. Hallux valgus) causes the weight to shift to the second MPJ (or knuckle). Over time, the flexor tendon causes the toe to curl and eventually a hammertoe can occur. This will then become a rigid deformity of the toe and cause pain in the joint.

Non-surgical treatment attempts to take the stress off the joint using a Budin splint, hammertoe crest pad, or an orthotic with a metatarsal pad. Once the toe is rigid, surgery is neede to correct the deformity and reduce your pain.

Hope this helps! Run Happy! And without toe pain!!

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