There are small bone segments that are connected by joints in the toes of each foot. A condition that is referred to as hammertoe occurs when the joint in one of the toes becomes deformed and causes the toe to bend downward, resembling a hammer. Additionally, it may typically affect the toe next to it, and may become painful and uncomfortable. There are several reasons why hammertoe may develop, including wearing poorly fitting footwear, which may generally include shoes with inadequate room for the toes to move freely in, medical conditions such as arthritis, or a genetic disposition. If you feel you may have developed hammertoe, an examination is needed so a proper diagnosis can be determined, which is generally performed by a podiatrist. Treatment options may then be discussed that can include performing gentle foot stretches, which may help to relax the tendons surrounding the affected joint, or having your toe splinted, which may aid in straightening the toes out.
Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.
- Pain in the affected toes
- Development of corns or calluses due to friction
- Contracture of the toes
Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible
Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur
Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe
Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe
Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it
Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used
Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option
If you have any questions please contact our office located in Havre de Grace, MD. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.Read more about What Are Hammertoes?