Massage Techniques for Hammer Toes

By James Mulcahy

Hammer toes are a common problem that cause pain and discomfort. Massage therapy is a good way to help treat this pain and help reduce the stress associated with this condition. It should not be a problem to receive massage if you have hammer toes, but you should clear it with your doctor if this is a chronic condition. There are specific types of massage that you might want to investigate that focus solely on the foot.

What are Hammer Toes?

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons describes hammer toes as a bending of the joints in the second, third, fourth and pinky toe. This bending can cause pain, corns, calluses and general discomfort. The condition can be caused by a muscle imbalance, and might be aggravated by poorly fitting footwear.

Massage and Hammer Toes

The primary goal of applying massage to hammer toes is to reduce the pain and discomfort caused by the condition. The massage therapist will use light, soothing strokes on the area in order to relax the underlying muscles. She will likely work each toe with her fingers. She will move the joint through its range of motion, and may perform stretches to increase the mobility of the area.

Reflexology and Hammer Toes

Reflexology is a special type of massage that focuses just on the feet. If you experience a lot of pain and discomfort from hammer toes, you might want to consider getting a reflexology session. The therapist will use his thumb to massage the sole of your foot and your toes. He may also stimulate the toe area with range of motion techniques and squeezing.

Eastern Massage and Hammer Toes

Eastern massage styles, like Shiatsu, focus on balancing the body’s flow of energy. A condition like hammer toe is considered a blockage of this energy. A Shiatsu therapist will perform short, sweeping strokes to the toes and foot in order to get this energy flowing properly. There are also a number of special energetic pressure points on the toes, and the therapist will manipulate these with her thumb and fingers to balance the energy.

Check With Your Doctor

If your hammer toes are a chronic problem, you should check with your doctor before discussing it with a massage therapist. Let the therapist know about the specific area that you’d like addressed; she will be able to tailor the session to meet your specific needs.

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