Do your toes appear crooked? Are they often bent and crowded? Do they not rest flat on the ground? If your answer to any of these questions is a YES, then you probably have a hammertoe.
What is a Hammertoe?
Hammertoe is a condition that causes one or more toes to abnormally bend. Any toe can be involved, but it often affects the second to fifth toes, called the lesser digits. In most cases, this abnormal bending can be treated, however it may become a permanent deformity when ignored.
What are the Symptoms of Hammertoe?
There are telling signs to indicate that you may be developing a hammertoe. They include:
● Experiencing pain and irritation when wearing shoes
● Development of corns and calluses (some buildup of skin) on the toe
● Inflammation, redness, and swelling on the toe joint
● Formation of open sores (occurs in severe cases)
What Causes Hammertoe?
Hammertoe can be inherited. However, it is usually caused by the muscle imbalance from wearing of shoes that do not properly fit. Human muscles work together to straighten and bend your toes. If tight shoes are worn, your toes are forced into a cramped position. When held long enough like that, the muscles tend to tighten and don’t stretch out properly.
How Can Hammertoe be Prevented?
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you wish to reduce your chances of developing hammertoes, then you should avoid wearing high-heeled and narrow-toed shoes; instead, wear comfortable shoes that give support and allow enough space for your toes. Also consider stretching to relieve pain in your toes.
How is It Treated?
At the very first sign of pain or discomfort in your feet, it’s advisable to call 3D Sports Medicine immediately for an appointment. Treatments can vary depending upon the type and severity of the hammertoes. For the mild cases, Dr. Wade may provide non-surgical options:
● Padding and Taping – Padding lessens the pain and enables you to continue having an active life. Taping may help minimize imbalance around toes, thus relieving associated pain.
● Medication – There are anti-inflammatory medicines and injections that may be prescribed to help ease the pain and inflammation caused by malformation of joints.
● Orthotic Devices – You may be advised to use custom shoe inserts to control foot functions. Such devices may reduce symptoms and prevent the worsening of the condition.
Hammertoes can be progressive and may get worse over time. For severe cases, non-surgical methods may no longer work, and surgery may be the only option left. Dr. Wade will evaluate your specific case of hammertoe, to devise a procedure plan.
There is no need to suffer from the excruciating pain caused by hammertoes when Dr. Allison Wade of 3D Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center can develop a treatment plan that’s suited to your needs. She holds the distinction of being the only Foot & Ankle Orthopaedic Surgeon in Brevard County, FL. Contact us to set an appointment today.