Hammertoe is a deformity that can affect any toe. If there is an imbalance in the muscles and ligaments surrounding the joint, this causes the toe joint to bend. If left untreated, the toe can get stuck in this bent position. Although this condition can happen to any toe, the toe next to your big foot is the most likely candidate. Women get hammertoes more often than men, mostly because of footwear. Wearing high heels and shoes that are too tight or too narrow can force your toes against the front of the shoe and cause hammertoe.
Besides wearing improper foot wear, this condition can also be caused by injury or illness; in some cases it runs in the family. There are two different types of hammertoes: flexible or rigid. Early treatment of a flexible hammertoe can prevent it from becoming a rigid hammertoe. As with many foot conditions, you can achieve relief and prevent hammertoe from getting worse by wearing proper foot wear. If you think you might have this condition, don’t delay treatment as it could worsen with time or lead to other serious foot problems. Our Port St. Lucie podiatrists and podiatrists at our other locations will provide a diagnosis and discuss a comprehensive treatment plan for hammertoe with you. Call 561-793-6170 to schedule an appointment today or request an appointment online.
What is Hammertoe?
Hammertoe is a deformity where the toe bends and the shape resembles a hammer. Hammertoe is sometimes called contracted toe. The toe next to the big toe is most commonly affected. If the pinky toe becomes curled under, that is also considered a hammertoe. There are two severities of hammertoe. A flexible hammertoe means that the toe can still be straightened and there are more treatment options available. If the hammertoe is rigid and cannot be moved, then surgery is the option for relief. The bend in the toe is a result of the muscles and the ligaments that surround a joint in the toe being imbalanced. The cause of this condition can be genetic, but is usually a result of injury or illness. The injury can be from an event, but most often is from wearing shoes that crowd the toes and force them against the tip of your shoes. Illnesses such as arthritis or diabetes can also cause hammertoes.
Symptoms of Hammertoe
The main complaint of hammertoe sufferers is pain and discomfort where the top of the toe is bent. This is usually from your shoes rubbing against it; in some cases your shoes may not fit properly at all. Corns and calluses can form at the top of the toe from the constant rubbing. Your toe may become immovable, which leads to more discomfort.
Treatment for Hammertoe
Hammertoe is a very treatable condition and the sooner you begin treatment, the better chance of straightening your toe and finding relief from the pain and discomfort. If the affected toe is still moveable, treatment options include switching to more comfortable shoes with plenty of room and support. Our doctors can recommend the types of shoes that are best for you. They may also prescribe custom orthotics or padding that is customized to help straighten your toe gradually. There are a series of toe exercises and stretches that can also help your toe gain back the flexibility to flatten out again. If the conservative treatment options are not working to flatten your toe out, then surgery might be recommended. The surgery that is done is a procedure to release the tightened tendon that is forcing the toe to bend.
What should you expect when visiting the South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers for hammertoe treatment? Our podiatrists specialize in making you feel comfortable by involving you in the treatment plan and explaining all of the available options to you. Diagnosing hammertoe just involves examining your foot. The doctor will check to see if your hammertoe is flexible or rigid. An x-ray might be done so that the podiatrist can get a better idea of the structure of the bones in your toe and foot. The South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers doctors’ have a great deal of clinical experience and expertise in treating hammertoe and other conditions of the feet.
YOUR NEXT STEPS
The podiatrists at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers have extensive training and clinical experience when it comes to evaluating, diagnosing patients and providing treatment to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with hammertoe. We pride ourselves on providing a good experience during your office visits where you are involved in our plan of care. Do these symptoms sound familiar? Contact South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers today for a comprehensive examination and treatment. Schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Port St. Lucie or at any one of our six locations throughout Palm Beach. Call 561-793-6170 to speak with a staff member or click here to request an appointment online.