Si quiere leer este sitio de web en EspaƱol, por favor cambiar el lenguaje en la esquina superior derecha.

Hammertoes: Diagnoses, Treatment and Prevention

People may hear of hammerhead sharks during "Shark Week," but have no idea what a hammertoe is. Hammertoes can be incredibly uncomfortable and make it painful to walk. In our clinic, we treat this condition and help patients to regain their comfort and mobility.

WHAT IS A HAMMERTOE?

Typically, this refers to the toe that is next to the big toe. However, it could impact the second, third or fourth toe. The hammertoe has a bend in the middle of the toe that makes it resemble the shape of a hammer. Someone wearing the improper shoes that are either too tight or too narrow will apply pressure onto the toe. This pressure will make it difficult to move, enlarge the toe and make it incredibly painful. A hammertoe may also develop large corns and calluses.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A HAMMER TOE?

This condition needs a diagnosis by a podiatrist. However, it is typically marked by a strange band in the middle of the toe joint. Also, some patients have swelling or a physical deformity that looks like a hammer. Additionally, the corns and calluses can be an indication of the condition, as can the pain and discomfort.

Still, there can be other reasons that these symptoms are present so it is important to visit our office for an actual diagnosis.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR HAMMER TOES?

When visiting our clinic, we will conduct a physical examination to determine how badly the toe has been impacted by the condition. We may also need to take X-rays. The results of these tests and exams will tell us what treatment methods are necessary for a patient’s particular situation. We tend to recommend the least invasive treatment methods first as long as they have a good chance of being successful.

Professional treatment allows patients to recover, even with the least invasive and most affordable manner possible. However, if non-invasive treatment options are not going to be sufficient, we will recommend treatments that include surgery. In our case, we are looking for what will be effective for helping a patient fully recover.

Treatments can include:

THERE ARE BENEFITS TO EARLY TREATMENT

As with many conditions, if hammer toes are diagnosed and treated early on, there are distinct benefits to a patient. First, when they are diagnosed early, there are certain non-invasive treatments that can be applied to correct the toe and its position. This makes it possible for a patient to recover quickly and without the need for any invasive measures.

If patients take too long to visit our clinic, it is possible that the toe will harden and this new position and that surgery will be necessary for correcting it. The reason why the toe can harden in this strange position is that the muscles work to bend and move the toes. If the muscles are stretched or bent in an unnatural position, they will eventually harden there and it will be impossible for them to stretch back to where the muscles were initially.

It is similar to what happens when people do not stretch or remain in a hunched-over position and how their back then becomes permanently hunched over. In other words, it is necessary to continue stretching and to ensure that muscles remain in the proper position, even if those muscles happen to be located in the toe.

To learn more about hammer toes and how we can treat them, schedule an appointment with our clinic.

You Might Also Enjoy...

4 Reasons to See A Doctor if You Suspect a Bunion

A bunion is a bump that forms on the inside of your foot, near your big toe. Bunions can cause significant discomfort and may affect your ability to move. It’s important to see a doctor if you suspect you have a bunion.

Little Known Causes of Heel Pain

Heel pain can make it difficult for you to walk comfortably, impacting your day-to-day activities significantly. Learn about little known causes of heel pain and how they can be addressed to give you back your freedom of movement.

5 Sports Injuries That Affect the Feet

Your feet support the full weight of your body and are prone to many types of sports injuries. These injuries can be very painful and debilitating, taking you off the field or court and negatively impacting your training.

How to Prevent Bunion Pain

A bunion is a bony protrusion on the side of your foot, at the base of your big toe, caused by bones in your foot being out of alignment. Bunions can result in discomfort, and, if untreated, can develop into more serious conditions.

Why Is My Toenail Yellow and Crumbly?

Foot problems can affect how your feet look and feel, as well as your ability to stand and walk. Toenails that are dry and crumbly are not only unattractive, but can cause bothersome symptoms and may require professional treatment. Read on to learn more.

Here's How Custom Orthotics Can Help Flat Feet

With flat feet, your soles don’t have the typical curve on the underside, allowing the entire bottom surface to touch the ground. This can cause knee and ankle pain. Learn how custom orthotics can help.