By contactus@ctfootcare.com
October 09, 2019
Category: Foot Conditions

At Connecticut Foot Care Centers, we know patients are able to readily identify a hammertoe by its characteristic bent shape causing it to resemble a hammer. However, they often don’t know much about what causes them or what treatments are available. Below are some facts about this common podiatric problem.

FACT: Hammertoe is actual a deformity of or both joints of the second, third, fourth or fifth toe. It is caused by a muscle imbalance.

FACT: Wearing improperly fitting shoes that are too short for your feet can also aggravate or encourage a hammertoe to form.

FACT: Hammertoes are a progressive condition. This means they will get worse over time unless treatment intervenes with the progression. In their early stages, hammertoes are still flexible and the toe can be straightened using conservative measures. Left untreated, the hammertoe will become rigid and unable to bend. At that point, surgery is the only option for correcting the deformity.

FACT: In addition to examining your toe and foot, the podiatrist will likely order an x-ray of the foot. This will be used to assess the severity of the deformity and also to monitor its progression in the future.

FACT: A secondary condition that often accompanies hammertoes is painful corns. These develop on the top and front of the toe as a result of rubbing and pressure from footwear on this part of the toe that is exposed due to the contracture of the hammertoe.

FACT: There are several effective treatment options for hammertoes. These include:

  • Changing your shoes to styles made of soft materials with roomy toe boxes
  • Doing exercises to stretch and strengthen muscles
  • Straps to realign the bent toe
  • A custom orthotic device to help correct the muscle imbalance and foot position
  • Icing and oral medications to relieve pain
  • Pads to cushion and protect corns if they have formed

If you have noticed your toe appearing to be bending oddly at the joint, don’t delay. Contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices so that our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M. or Raffaella R. Pascarella, D.P.M. can treat your hammertoe before it becomes a debilitating problem.

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