Hammertoe causes the middle joint of a smaller toe to bend up permanently, leading to discomfort and difficulty wearing your shoes. At Redlands Podiatry Group PC in Redlands, California, leading local podiatrist Mathew Morris, DPM, FACFAS, and the team offers hammertoe treatments, ranging from nonsurgical interventions to corrective surgery, based on your specific situation. Call the office to schedule an appointment today.
Hammertoe is an abnormality affecting the middle joint in the second, third, or fourth toe. It causes the joint to pop up, remaining in a bent position. Sometimes a hammertoe may overlap one of the toes next to it.
When a hammertoe develops, you can push lightly on the joint to straighten it (flexible hammertoe), although it usually returns to the abnormal position quickly.
But if your toe stays bent for a long time, the affected joint and the connected tissues harden. So, your flexible hammertoe can turn into a rigid hammertoe that’s permanently stuck in its uncomfortable position.
Hammertoes can also cause corns and calluses on the top of the affected toe and in between toes. In severe cases, a hammertoe can even make it hard to walk normally, and the change in body weight distribution can increase your risk of an injury.
Hammertoe develops because of imbalances in the toe muscles, which leads to abnormal pressure on the tendons and joints within the toes.
Wearing shoes that don’t fit properly is a leading cause of hammertoe. High heels, which push your weight onto your toes and force your toes into bent positions, are a common culprit in the development of hammertoes. Because most high heels wearers are female, hammertoe is far more prevalent among women.
Bunions cause abnormal changes in your forefoot, so they’re also one of the biggest risk factors for hammertoes.
The ideal treatment approach depends mainly on whether you have a flexible or rigid hammertoe. For the most part, flexible hammertoes respond to conservative measures like changing your shoes and performing special toe exercises like picking up a towel with your toes.
The team may also use straps, taping, or custom orthotics to keep your toe from moving up when it shouldn’t. These conservative measures can encourage rebalance in your toe muscles and prevent the hammertoe from worsening.
For rigid hammertoe that causes severe pain, difficulty walking, or other major issues, you may need surgery. Procedures like tendon lengthening and joint fusion correct the problems that caused the hammertoe for permanent relief.
Having a hammertoe doesn't have to become a debilitating issue when the experts at Redlands Podiatry Group PC can help. Call the office to schedule an appointment today.