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Toe Deformities and How To Avoid Them

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By: KURU Footwear

Few parts of our body are treated as badly as your feet. When we shove them into ill-fitted shoes and high heels, it is little wonder why long hours in those conditions can cause issues. And while many of us push through the pain or try to “make it work”, that can lead to more problems and make things worse in the long term.

Toe deformities are the result of long term abuse on your feet and can range from uncomfortable to limiting your range of motion and making it difficult or impossible to wear shoes.

Below, we’ll discuss more about common toe problems like bunions, hammer toes, mallet toes, and claw toes, and discover simple ways to prevent and treat them.

Key Takeaways

  • Toe deformities such as bunions, hammer toes, mallet toes, and claw toes are often caused by ill-fitted shoes, and can range from uncomfortable to limiting range of motion.
  • Treatment for toe deformities often involves non-invasive measures, such as wearing specially designed shoes with supportive cushions or pads and broad toe boxes, avoiding tight or high-heeled shoes, and regular toe exercises.
  • KURU Shoes offers specially designed shoes with broad toe boxes and supportive cushioning, such as KINETIC and QUANTUM, that can help support recovery from toe deformities and provide superior comfort.


The most common toe problem is a bunion (sometimes called hallux valgus). A bunion is a structural deformity of the bones, which is usually the result of shoes that are too tight. The big toe becomes angled towards the second toe and creates a bony bulge at the joint of the big toe. The same issue can also happen to the little toe at the fifth toe joint.

In many cases, bunions can be tolerated and if you have symptoms but you are not experiencing foot pain, your doctor will probably suggest that you just leave it be. Of course, you will still want to replace your footwear, since that is what probably caused to problem in the first place. The most comfortable shoes for people suffering from a bunion will have broad toe boxes.

Hammer Toe

Hammer toe is another common toe deformity characterized by the bending of the toe at the middle joint, resulting in a toe that appears curled like a hammer. While it frequently affects the second toe, it can also impact other toes. Interestingly, individuals with bunions may also develop hammer toes, as both conditions involve bony outgrowths along the joints of the big toe.

This condition can cause discomfort and difficulty finding shoes that fit properly. If left untreated, hammer toe can worsen over time, leading to pain and limited mobility. It’s essential to address hammer toe early to prevent further complications. Treatment options include wearing shoes with roomy toe boxes, toe exercises, and, in severe cases, surgical intervention.

Learn how to prevent bunions and ways to keep them from getting worse.
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How To Prevent Bunions and Keep Them From Getting Worse in 4 Steps

Mallet Toe

Mallet toe is akin to hammer toe, but the joint affected is the upper joint rather than the middle one. This results in a distinctive appearance resembling a mallet at the end of the toe. Like hammer toe, mallet toe can cause discomfort and affect one’s ability to find comfortable footwear.

The condition can develop due to various factors, including genetics, trauma, or wearing ill-fitting shoes. Left untreated, mallet toe can lead to pain, corns, and calluses. Treatment typically involves wearing shoes with spacious toe boxes to accommodate the deformity and alleviate pressure. Toe exercises and splints may also help realign the toe joint.

Claw Toe

Claw toes present as an upward bending of the toe joint at the ball of the foot, followed by a downward curvature resembling a claw at the middle and sometimes end joint of the toe. Unlike hammer toe, claw toes can affect any toe except the big toe. This deformity can lead to discomfort, especially when walking or standing for extended periods, causing pain in the ball of the foot or toes.

Individuals with bunions may also develop claw toes due to the commonality of bony outgrowths along the joints of the big toe. Therefore, addressing underlying foot issues like bunions can help prevent the development of claw toes.

Treatment for claw toes often involves wearing shoes with roomy toe boxes to accommodate the bent toes and alleviate pressure. Additionally, toe exercises and stretches may help improve flexibility and reduce discomfort. In severe cases, corrective surgery may be necessary to realign the toe joints and relieve pain.

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Protect Against Toe Deformities With KURU

Initially, toe deformities are treated by simple, non-invasive measures to restore or maintain regular walking ability and relieve foot pain. Those treatments include wearing specially designed shoes with supportive cushions or pads and a broad toe box areas to prevent skin irritation or worsening of the toes condition. You must start by avoiding any tight, narrow, or high heeled shoes.

Your doctor may recommend splints or tape to reposition the toes, and practicing regular toe exercises and stretches to improve range of motion. In some extreme cases, surgery may be recommended, but you should try more mild treatments first.

Treatments include wearing specially designed shoes with supportive cushions or pads and a broad toe box areas to prevent skin irritation or worsening of the toes condition. You must start by avoiding any tight, narrow, or high heeled shoes.

Here are two of our favorite picks for shoes that can support your recovery if you are having symptoms of a toe deformity:


KINETIC 2.0 features our tallest, most-cushioned KURUCLOUD midsole for superior shock-absorption and comfort. A broad footprint allows for sure-footed stability all shift long, while a generous toe box lets your toes naturally lay flat.

KURU Footwear KINETIC 2.0 Men's Sneaker in Bright White-Graphite.


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The new and improved KINETIC 2.0 answers the call of hard workers everywhere. Tested to meet ASTM F2913-11 anti-slip standards, KINETIC 2.0 features high-grade, slip-resistant rubber outsoles, more cushioning and a broader footprint for stability in every step.


QUANTUM 2.0 features famously wide toe boxes, so your toes can lay flat and your bunions can breathe. That means you can say goodbye to a squished forefoot and walk with the stride that nature intended.

KURU Footwear QUANTUM 2.0 Women's Sneaker in Pewter-Night Sky.


(768) Ratings


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Our best got better. As we celebrate 10 years of fan-favorite QUANTUM, we bring you the next generation of heel pain relief: QUANTUM 2.0. This premium walking shoe brings you our most cushioned midsole yet, a wider base with a wide toe box, and upgraded KURUSOLE heel support for ultimate foot pain relief.

By prioritizing comfort and support in our footwear choices and addressing toe deformities early on, we can ensure that our feet remain healthy and happy for years to come. Let’s step forward with confidence, knowing that we’re protecting our feet from deformities and discomfort.

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About Us

For all media inquiries, please contact us at pr@kurufootwear.com.

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