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Bringing the Hammer Down on Hammertoes

If you wear tight shoes that squeeze your toes together, you may be putting yourself at risk for developing a hammertoe. Hammertoes occur when there is an imbalance in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments which normally work together to hold the toe straight. This imbalance causes an abnormal bend in the toe’s middle joint, making it stick up, therefore the entire toe looks like the head of a hammer. Because the toe joint sticks up abnormally, it can rub against your shoes and cause a painful corn to develop at the site. It is important to seek treatment from a podiatrist as early as possible—before the hammertoe becomes rigid, and when the hammertoe is still flexible enough to be fixed. Your podiatrist may try taping the hammertoe to gently guide it back to its normal position or use toe pads or custom orthotics to cushion it. Some hammertoes may require corrective surgery to straighten it out. Make an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as you believe a hammertoe is forming on your foot, so you have a better chance of correcting the deformity.

Hammertoe

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact Joe Mathew George DPM, FACFAS from Illinois. Our doctor will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes

Causes

Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe

Treatment

Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please contact our offices located in Joliet, Bolingbrook, and Channahon, IL . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about What Are Hammertoes?

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