Posts for tag: Hammertoes
A hammertoe is one of the most common toe conditions, usually stemming from muscle imbalance in which the joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toe are bent into a contracted, claw-like position. In the early stages, hammertoes are flexible and can be corrected with simple conservative measures, but if left untreated, they can become fixed and require surgery.
The most common cause of hammertoe is a muscle imbalance. Tight-fitting and high-heeled shoes often aggravate the condition, crowding your toes forward. A hammertoe can also be the result of injury in which you break or jam the toe, or from conditions like arthritis or stroke that affect nerves and muscles. In some cases, hammertoes may even be inherited.
Because of their clenched, claw-like appearance, hammertoes will generally be visibly present. Other signs and symptoms include:
- Difficult or painful motion of a toe joint
- Redness or swelling at a toe joint
- Development of calluses and corns
- Open sores in severe cases
The foot and ankle professionals at our office recommend the following for preventing and reducing the symptoms associated with hammertoe:
- Wear comfortable, proper-fitting shoes that provide support and allow enough room for your toes
- Avoid high-heeled or narrow-toed shoes
- Stretch your toe muscles to relieve pressure and pain
- Apply splints, cushions or pads to relieve pressure
- Moisturize with cream to keep the skin soft
Generally, a modification of footwear will reduce the symptoms associated with hammertoe. Other non-surgical treatment includes padding to shield corns and calluses and orthotic devices that are placed in the shoe to help control muscle imbalance. We can help you determine the best treatment for your symptoms. Severe cases that don't respond to conservative measures may require surgery to restore your toe's flexibility and eliminate the pressure.
Hammertoes are progressive - they don't go away by themselves and the condition usually gets worse over time. Once a podiatrist at has evaluated your hammertoe, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.
Have you noticed that one of your toes is bent or curled? If so, then this abnormality might just be the result of a hammertoe. While a hammertoe can occur in any toe, it most often happens to the second or third toe. This condition usually occurs as a person ages, but there are some people who are born with this problem. From the office of your Sparta, NJ podiatrist, Dr. Philip Caswell, find out more about the cause and solution for your hammertoe.
What are the symptoms of a hammertoe?
If you have a hammertoe, one of the most obvious symptoms is pain when you walk. You may also notice pain when stretching or moving the toe. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms include:
- The development of a corn or callus on the toe
- Problems walking
- A toe that is curled or bend downward
- The inability to move the affected toe
What causes a hammertoe?
There are two joints present in each toe and when the middle joint is dislocated a hammertoe occurs. Joint dislocation causes include:
- Traumatic injury
- Very high arches
- Wearing ill-fitted shoe
- A bunion
- Tight tendons or ligaments in the foot
What can I do?
There are many ways to treat a hammertoe, and a lot will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Common treatment options include:
- Wearing bunion or corn pads
- Wearing shoe inserts or custom orthotics (ask your Sparta, NJ foot doctor about whether orthotics could improve your condition)
- Wearing properly fitted shoes that give your toes room to move
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen
- Performing gentle toe stretches
If your hammertoe is so severe that you are unable to move it then surgery is the only treatment option that will be able to restore movement back into the affected toe. Surgery is used to reposition the toe and to realign any ligaments or tendons in the foot that might be causing your hammertoe.
A hammertoe can be easy to treat if you take care of the problem as soon as possible. If you are dealing with any foot problems turn to the foot care experts at Family Foot & Ankle Care in Sparta, NJ.