Posts for tag: Hammertoes
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 a contracture, or shortening and rigidity, of the connective tissues in the smaller toes of either foot. The Institute for Preventive Foot Health states that about 7 million American adults have this condition and need treatment. At Clintonville/Dublin Foot & Ankle Group in Columbus, your podiatrists--Drs. Griffith, Thomas and Barron--see this progressive deformity all the time. They can help you have pain-free, functional feet again.
Causes and symptoms of hammertoes
Toes two through five can take on a claw- or mallet-like appearance--hence, the name hammertoes. Medically termed hallux abductovalgus, this painful problem crops up in women more than men, probably because of shoes with high heels and cramped toe boxes. Other causes are heredity, diabetic neuropathy, trauma and the simple wear and tear of the aging process.
As the problem progresses, the affected toe or toes stiffen, lose range of motion and can be very painful to walk on. Corn and callus formation adds to the discomfort as the toes rub against the inside of shoes.
Help for hammertoes
If your Columbus podiatrist examines and X-rays your feet early on in hammertoe development, he can more easily and successfully treat the condition without interventions such as cortisone injections or surgery (tendon release in the toe). Your foot doctor will develop a treatment plan to balance your muscles, bones, and connective tissues in the foot, allowing for more functional, free and comfortable movement of the toes.
Therefore, he likely will advise these interventions according to your specific needs:
- In-office removal of large and painful corns and calluses
- Corn and callus padding to reduce irritation
- Well-constructed foot wear with lower heels, sufficient room in the toes and proper arch support
- Custom-made shoe inserts (orthotics) to correct gait problems
- Splints to re-align the toe
- Over the counter pain medications
Many people who have a hammertoe also have a bunion, a bulging of the big toe joint and inward turning of the toe. Many of the same common sense measures which help hammertoes relieve the progression and discomfort of bunions, too.
Get some relief
At Clintonville/Dublin Foot & Ankle Group, your podiatrists and their professional team get people of all ages back on their feet and moving comfortably once again. If you are seeing and feeling changes in your foot structure, level of comfort and ability to move freely, call one of our three offices for a consultation. Hammertoes are just one of the many conditions we treat.
For Columbus, OH, phone (614) 267-8387. In Dublin, OH, call (614) 761-1466, and for the Southwest location, phone (614) 272-2313.
When most people think about foot deformities they most often think about bunions; however, hammertoes are just as common. This unassuming deformity comes about gradually, so you may not even notice it until it’s too late. “What is a hammertoe?” You might be wondering. A hammertoe affects the middle joint of a toe (often the smaller toes), causing the toe to bend downward. In severe cases, a hammertoe will look almost claw-like.
There are two kinds of hammertoes: flexible and rigid. As you might imagine, a flexible hammertoe is one in which you can still straighten the toe out. If you aren’t able to straighten the affected toe then this is a rigid hammertoe. A flexible hammertoe isn’t as serious as a rigid one; however, it’s important that you take care of your hammertoe to make sure that it doesn’t get worse.
While there is no way to cure a hammertoe there are simple measures you can take to prevent it from progressing. First and foremost, you need to take a look at the shoes you are wearing and make sure that they aren’t too tight. When you slip your feet into your shoes, does it cause your toes to bunch up against one another? If so then this could make your hammertoe worse.
Instead, opt for shoes with an ample toe box, which will allow your toes to wiggle and move around freely. If you have a structural imbalance within the foot this can leave you prone to foot problems such as hammertoes and bunions. To correct this imbalance, talk to your foot doctor about getting custom orthotics (shoe inserts), which can be placed into your shoes to help provide cushioning, support, and shock absorption for your feet.
If pain or stiffness does rear its ugly head you can choose to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen, which can tackle both pain and inflammation in one fell swoop, or you can place a towel-wrapped ice pack (never put ice directly on the skin, as it can cause severe burns) over the area for several minutes.
Just as you can buy pads to cover a bunion or callus, you can also buy a non-medicated protective pad to cover over a hammertoe. Since the deformed toe joint juts out this can leave the toe prone to calluses, which can cause pain when wearing shoes. To prevent a callus from forming, you can apply a protective pad over the deformed toe joint before putting on shoes.
Of course, if you are dealing with significant or frequent pain, or if the hammertoe is rigid, then you will want to turn to a podiatric specialist. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to correct the disfigured joint.
What your foot doctors in Clintonville and Dublin want you to know
A hammertoe gets its name from a deformity in your toe which resembles a hammer. Your toe can bend inward at the middle joint, forcing the bone to jut outward. Over time, your tightened muscles become unable to straighten out, and your joint remains in an unnatural position, causing the deformity known as hammertoe. Fortunately, there are ways to both prevent and treat hammertoe.
Your podiatrists at the Clintonville/Dublin Foot & Ankle Group want to share the facts about hammertoe. They have two convenient office locations in Clintonville and Dublin, OH to help your feet.
Hammertoe typically happens to your second, third or fourth toe and is caused by wearing shoes that don’t fit properly and crowd your toes, forcing the joint to jut outward. You can also get hammertoe from a muscle or tendon imbalance in your foot. Hammertoe is more common in women because they often wear shoes that are too narrow, forcing the toes into uncomfortable, contorted positions.
You can recognize hammertoe by its unique deformity and by the formation of calluses or corns at the top of your toe’s middle joint. Corns or calluses form because of your toes rubbing against the inside of your shoes. Over time, hammertoe can make it difficult for you to wear shoes.
It’s best to prevent hammertoe by following a few simple steps:
- Wear shoes with enough room for your toes
- Do toe exercises like picking up objects from the floor
- Stretch your toes individually
- Wear cushions, callus or corn pads
- Take anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling
Your podiatrists at the Clintonville/Dublin Foot & Ankle Group offer several effective remedies for stubborn, severe cases of hammertoe. They may recommend:
- Splinting your toe to realign the joint
- Wearing custom-fit orthotics to ease pain and correct an imbalance
- Injections of corticosteroids to lessen inflammation
- Surgical correction for severe hammertoe cases
Don’t suffer the pain and disabling effects of hammertoe. Get some relief and get back on your feet by calling your podiatrists at the Clintonville/Dublin Foot & Ankle Group, with offices in Clintonville and Dublin, OH. Call today!
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 office 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. We 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 has evaluated your hammertoe, a treatment plan can be developed that is suited to your needs.