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How to Deal with Hammertoes
By Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland
February 18, 2015
Category: Podiatry
Tags: Hammertoes  

If you have hammertoes, find out the best ways to manage your condition and reduce symptoms.

Our feet and toes are a crucial component to being able to move and walk around. So it’s often not until moving is difficult that we notice we even have an issue. Hammertoes are a deformity that affects the bone of the smaller toe. This deformity is often due to a muscle imbalance caused by other problems like flat feet or an injury. Toe deformities such as hammertoes tend to be more Hammertoeprevalent as one ages, affecting about 2 to 20 percent of people; however, women are five times more likely to develop this condition. Find out more about hammertoes and what you can do to manage it.

All About Hammertoes

This deformity affects one or both joints in the smaller toes, which causes them to bend more than they should. If the condition is severe the toe or toes can begin to look almost claw-like. Hammertoes do continue to get worse unless treatment or special care is utilized. The symptoms of hammertoe can be made worse by wearing poorly fitted shoes, which shove the toe into a cramped position.

Symptoms of a hammertoe include toe pain or discomfort when wearing shoes, the development of a corn or callus on the toe, a bent and claw-like toe, redness and inflammation, and open sores (which are more rare).

Treating Hammertoes

The good thing about this condition is that conservative treatments and methods can be adopted to prevent a hammertoe from progressing. Talk to your Silver Spring podiatrist about different kinds of corn and callus padding we offer. We are happy to prescribe padding to protect your corns or other irritations from getting worse.

When you wear shoes be sure to stay away from anything with a pointed toe, high heels or shoes that box in your toes. Any of these shoes can put unnecessary pressure on the toes. Opt instead for shoes with spacious toe boxes and heels that are less than two inches.

Orthotic devices can also help correct the muscle imbalance that causes hammertoes. Talk to your Silver Spring podiatrist about custom orthotics and how they can offer support and protection for your foot and ankle while also taking pressure away from certain parts of the feet.

If you experience pain or irritation, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories can help reduce symptoms; however, if your symptoms are a bit more severe we recommend getting steroid injections.

In more serious cases in which the hammertoe is painful and stiff, we will most likely recommend surgery to correct the deformity. Your Silver Spring podiatrist can talk to you about what the surgery entails and whether this option is right for you.

If you have exhausted all of these conservative treatments but still experience problems then it’s time to see your Silver Spring podiatrist, Dr. Marc Goldberg, DPM with Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland. Let us get you moving comfortably again!

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