Posts for tag: Hammertoes
Discover more about this foot deformity and why it happens.
Bunions always seem to get the spotlight when talking about foot deformities; however, it’s also essential to shed light on hammertoes. This common deformity affects the middle joint of the smaller toes. When this joint is impacted, it causes the toes to bend downward. Wondering if you may be at risk for hammertoes? Here’s what you should know,
What Can Lead to a Hammertoe?
It’s important to figure out what can cause a hammertoe to develop so you can do your best to avoid certain habits or practices that could increase your risk. Some risk factors for hammertoes include,
- A family history of hammertoes
- Wearing tight or pointed shoes
- Wearing shoes that are too small
- Dealing with bunions, corns and calluses
- Injury or trauma to a toe
One of the easiest ways to avoid developing a hammertoe is to wear the proper shoes. This means avoiding shoes that are too small, which forces toes to curl under or bunch up. Wearing poorly fitted shoes can also make bunions, blisters and other foot problems more likely to occur, making developing hammertoes more likely.
What Are the Symptoms of a Hammertoe?
Those with more mild symptoms may only notice the presence of a corn or callus, and the toe will be bent down. You may notice some pain when walking or trying to move the affected toe. Those with more severe symptoms may have trouble walking or may not be able to move their toes. The affected toes will also look claw-like in nature.
How Is a Hammertoe Treated?
If you suffer from only mild hammertoe symptoms, then the number one recommendation your podiatrist may make is to change your footwear. Avoid shoes with high arms, pointed toes, or shoes that are too tight and push toes into a bunched position. You can also opt for shoe inserts and orthotics to take pressure off certain parts of your foot while walking. This can also reduce pain and discomfort while moving.
Also, talk to your podiatrist about stretching exercises you can do from the comfort of your home daily to reduce hammertoe-related symptoms. This can also help to reposition the toe over time.
If you have more severe symptoms and other treatments aren’t improving your condition, you may need surgery to help realign the toe. Surgery for hammertoes is usually performed as an outpatient procedure.
Foot issues can be debilitating. There are leading foot problems you ought to look out for. Dr. Jesse Anderson of AAL Podiatry Associates can help answer and treat conditions in Norfolk and Suffolk, VA.
Leading Foot Problems
- Bunions: This is when the big toe joint is misaligned. You may experience swollen and tender joints. Bunions are usually hereditary but poor shoes aggravate this issue and corrective surgery may be necessary from your Norfolk and Suffolk podiatrist.
- Hammertoes: This is when the toe is bent like a claw. Any toe may be affected but it's usually the second toe. Avoid shoes and socks that crowd toes to avoid pain or discomfort.
- Heel Spurs: Heel spurs are bone growths that occur when the plantar tendon pulls at attachments to the heel bone. This area calcifies forming a spur.
- Ingrown Toenails: Poorly cut toenails can dig into the skin. This can also be a result of shoe pressure, injury, fungal infection, genetics, and poor foot structure. You can prevent this issue by trimming toenails straight across and choosing proper shoe styles and sizes.
- Neuromas: These are enlarged benign nerve growths commonly found between the third and fourth toes. Neuromas occur because of irritated nerves, pressure from ill-fitting shoes, and an abnormal bone structure.
- Plantar Fasciitis: Heel and arch pain occurs when the plantar fasciitis tissue on the bottom of the foot is inflamed. Treatment options your podiatrist may suggest include icing, foot exercises, and prescription orthotics.
- Shin Splints: This is pain on either side of the leg bone. Causes range from muscle or tendon inflammation to excessive foot pronation. Proper stretching and corrective orthotics can help.
- Stress Fractures: Cracks in the bone because of overuse heal quickly with rest. Extra padding is a good preventive measure but if left untreated, stress fractures may lead to complete bone fractures, requiring casting.
Are you suffering from a foot problem that requires a podiatrist's attention?
Want to learn more about treating foot pain from AAL Podiatry Associates? Call Dr. Jesse Anderson, at the Norfolk, VA, office, at (757) 625-2962 or Suffolk, VA, office at (757) 539-2098 for more information.
A hammertoe is a common foot deformity that affects the middle joint of the smaller toes. As a result, this causes the toes to bend downward. Since this bend causes the joint to stick out this can put more pressure on the affected joints when wearing shoes, which can also make the deformity worse over time. As with most foot deformities a hammertoe will start out minor and continue to progress over time if left untreated.
During the earlier stages you may not notice much pain and discomfort. In fact the only way you may be able to tell that you have a hammertoe is by examining the foot and noticing that the small toes bend downward like a claw. Of course, at this stage the deformed joint is still flexible enough to be straightened out.
However, if the deformity progresses this can cause the joint to become rigid, which won’t respond effectively to simple conservative treatments. As you might imagine, the sooner you see a podiatrist to treat your hammertoe the better. Early intervention is key, as a hammertoe will not get better without the proper care.
Hammertoes are often the result of an imbalance in the muscle or tendon of the foot. Over time, this leads to structural changes in the foot. Genetics may also play a role in whether your feet are at risk for this deformity. A hammertoe can also be made worse by wearing shoes that are too tight and put too much pressure on the toes.
Along with the structural changes that occur with hammertoes it’s also common to experience redness, inflammation or the development of a corn or callus on the toe. If you are noticing symptoms of a hammertoe see your podiatrist for an evaluation. A simple physical exam is usually all that’s needed to diagnose a hammertoe; however, sometimes an x-ray will be performed in order to determine the extent of the deformity.
If you are dealing with a flexible hammertoe, more often than not simple nonsurgical treatment options are all that’s needed. Following simple treatment options and care can prevent the hammertoes from becoming rigid or painful. Some nonsurgical treatment options include:
- Wearing the appropriate footwear. This means wearing shoes that aren’t pointy or have high heels, which can put more pressure on the toes.
- Placing custom orthotics into your shoes, which can ease discomfort and prevent pain resulting in a muscular imbalance.
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, which can reduce both pain and inflammation.
- Splinting the toe or toes to keep them straight, which can also reduce stiffness, inflammation and pain.
- Applying protective non-medicated padding over the top of the toe to prevent a corn or callus from developing.
If your hammertoe is painful or rigid then you may need to discuss whether surgery is the best option for alleviating your symptom and correcting the deformity. If you are dealing with a hammertoe turn to a foot specialist for help.
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 Norfolk, Sufffolk, VA offices 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. AAL Podiatry Associates 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 AAL Podiatry Associates has evaluated your hammertoe, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.