Hammertoe is a common foot condition that can be quite painful and uncomfortable. This condition can affect anyone, but it is more common in women than in men.
If you’re experiencing foot pain and suspect that you may have a hammertoe, seek the help of our qualified foot and ankle surgeons at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center located in the Greater Columbus area. We can help diagnose the condition and provide you with the necessary treatment options to alleviate the discomfort of hammertoes and other foot and ankle conditions. Don’t let foot pain hold you back – take action and seek help from a professional today!
Visiting an orthopedic surgeon doesn’t mean that surgery is necessary. Our orthopedic doctors always prefer to use non-surgical procedures to treat injuries.
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A hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the toe joint, particularly the middle joint of the second, third, or fourth toe. This condition causes the toe to bend downward in a shape that resembles a hammer, hence its name.
A hammertoe can be caused by a variety of factors, but one of the most common is wearing shoes that don’t fit properly.
Wearing shoes that are too tight, particularly high-heeled shoes, can put pressure on the toe muscles, causing them to tighten and curl over time. This can make a hammer toe worse, especially if the shoes have a narrow or pointed toe box. In addition, high heels can shift the weight of the body forward, placing even more pressure on the toes and making the development of a hammer toe more likely.
The following are some of the most common symptoms associated with hammertoe:
If left untreated, hammer toe can worsen and lead to complications such as corns, calluses, and difficulty walking. The pressure caused by the bent toe can cause irritation and pain on the top of the affected toe or the ball of the foot.
If you suspect that you have a hammer toe, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. Early intervention can help prevent the condition from worsening and improve your quality of life.
Diagnosis of hammertoes typically involves a physical examination by a medical professional. During the examination, the doctor will observe the affected toe and look for signs of deformation, such as a toe that tightens or curls downward. They may also check for pain, swelling, and redness in the affected area.
In some cases, the doctor may request an X-ray to further evaluate the severity of the condition. An X-ray can reveal any bone abnormalities that may have contributed to the development of hammertoe.
The treatment for hammertoes depends on the severity of the condition. Mild hammertoes can often be managed through non-surgical methods, while more severe cases may require surgical intervention.
For mild cases of hammertoe, treatment may include wearing shoes with a wider toe box to accommodate the affected toe and reduce pressure. Custom-made orthotics or shoe inserts may also be recommended to help support the foot and prevent further deformity. Toe exercises and stretches can also help improve flexibility and reduce stiffness in the affected toe.
For those with a severe case, hammertoe surgery may be necessary to correct the deformity. There are several surgical options available, including arthroplasty, in which a portion of the affected joint is removed, and arthrodesis, in which the affected joint is fused to prevent movement. In some cases, both procedures may be performed in combination.
In order to prevent the development of hammertoes, it’s important to wear comfortable shoes with a wide toe box that allows for natural movement of the toes. Regularly stretching and exercising the toes can also help to keep them flexible and strong, reducing the risk of developing hammertoe. By taking these steps, individuals can avoid the pain and discomfort that can come with this condition.
If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your toes, or some other type of foot and ankle condition, don’t ignore it any longer. Learn more about hammertoes and how they can impact your foot health by scheduling an appointment with one of our expert foot and ankle surgeons at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center.
Our orthopedic experts in Columbus, OH can provide valuable insights on the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for hammertoes. Schedule an appointment with us today!
Medically Reviewed by: Roberto A. Brandão, DPM, FACFAS