Hammertoe is a foot deformity that develops in the middle joint of one or more of your toes. When you have a hammertoe, your joint bends abnormally. This condition is most common in the second, third, and fourth toes.
Hammertoes develop because of an imbalance in the ligaments, tendons, or muscles responsible for holding the toes straight. This condition may occur because of trauma to the toe or after you wear certain types of shoes for long periods of time. Other risk factors for hammertoe include:
The most obvious symptom of hammertoe is an obvious abnormal bend in the middle joint of one of your toes. You may also notice pain in your feet and corns or calluses in the area. In addition, it may be difficult to move the affected toe.
Your podiatrist will usually be able to diagnose hammertoe simply by looking at your toes and asking about your symptoms. However, if the podiatrist suspects that another condition may be causing your symptoms, they may recommend an imaging scan, such as an X-ray.
If you have a hammertoe, it’s important to get treatment quickly. If you don’t treat this condition, the tendons in the toe will continue to tighten and contract, and the bend in your toe will become permanent. This leads to pain, corns, calluses, and other complications.
If your toe is still flexible when you seek treatment, the podiatrist may recommend wearing custom orthotics and/or switching to different footwear to relieve the pressure on your toe. They may also recommend certain exercises to strengthen the muscles in the toe.
If these non-invasive treatments don’t work, you may need surgery. The purpose of the surgery will be to release the tendon that keeps the toe from lying flat. During the surgery, the surgeon may also remove part of the bone.
To learn more about how to manage your hammertoe, call the office or schedule an appointment online.