25 Sep Treating Harmful Hammertoes
One of the most common things a foot can suffer from is a hammertoe. What is a hammertoe? A hammertoe is an abnormal bend of the middle joint of a toe usually caused by an imbalance of the muscles, ligaments or tendons holding the toe. Hammertoes can be painful and needs to be treated.
Symptoms of a hammertoe include:
- An abnormal bend in the toe joint – very noticeable and pronounced
- Pain in the toe – caused by the bend or strain on the toe
- Corns or calluses – can develop between the toes where they contact each other or your footwear
Risk Factors for hammertoes:
- Tight fitting shoes – poor fitting shoes can put undue stress on your toes
- Toe length – the longer the toe, the more likely it will bend
- Age – the older we get the more likely we will develop a hammertoe
- Sex – usually seen more in woman than in men
- Flat feet – can contribute to the misalignment of your toes
- Injury – physical damage to your foot may cause a hammertoe
- Genes – may be passed from one family member to another through bone structure
- Diseases – diabetes, arthritis and overall poor circulation can contribute to a hammertoe
There are 2 main types of hammertoe. Flexible and rigid. A flexible hammertoe can still be moved and can usually be treated without surgery. A rigid hammertoe, however, does not move and will likely need to be treated with surgery.
Treatments for hammertoes include:
- Wearing roomier shoes – relieves pressure on the toes
- Exercises for the toes – exercises will strengthen the weakened muscles
- Shoe inserts or orthotics – will help relieve pain and stress
- Surgery – your podiatrist may need to remove part of the affected joint
There are ways to prevent developing a hammertoe. To do so you need to wear roomier and low-heeled shoes, wear shoes without pointed toes and when buying shoes, measure them at the end of the day when your feet are a little larger from walking.
If you believe you have or are developing a hammertoe or have any other concerns about your feet, make an appointment with Alta Ridge Foot Specialists at one of our three offices at 105 Chestnut Street, Mars Hill or 440 Alta Pass Highway, Spruce Pine or 2211 NC Hwy 105 Boone, NC. We are a proud member of the Instride Foot and Ankle Partnership, a statewide partnership of doctors dedicated to providing state-of-the-art care to our patients. Dr. W. Aaron Broyles, Dr. Robert L. Van Brederode and Dr. Thomas Verla and their staff will be happy to see and treat you. Contact us today!