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What You Should Know About Hammertoes
By Marc Goldberg, D.P.M.
April 23, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Hammertoes  

Hammertoe is a contracture (bending) of one or both joints of any of the smaller toes. If you have a hammertoe, you should make an hammertoesappointment with a podiatrist. Without prompt treatment, hammertoes get progressively worse. Podiatrists provide a full range of medical care for problems of the lower legs, ankles, and feet. Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland offers treatments for hammertoes. They have offices in Olney, Clinton, Silver Spring, and Kensington, MD. Here's all you need to know about hammertoes.

About Hammertoes

Hammertoes are painful deformities of the toes. Hammertoes often affects the middle three toes. In this condition, the toe is bent at the middle joint, so that it resembles a hammer. This condition is caused by a muscle and ligament imbalance around the joints which causes the middle joint of the toe to bend and become stuck in this position. A toe that curls rather than buckle -most commonly the baby toe- is also considered a hammertoe.

Causes of Hammertoes

The risk of developing a hammertoe increases with age. Hammertoe is more common in women as they tend to wear high heels and narrower shoes. Arthritis and diabetes might make you more prone to developing hammertoe. Genetics also plays a role in hammertoes. Hammertoes may run in families. Hammertoe can also develop as a result of an injury in which you jam or break a toe.

Symptoms of Hammertoes

Deformity is usually the first symptom of hammertoe. Patients with hammertoes may feel pain in their toes and have difficulty finding comfortable footwear. At the start of the deformity, they may be able to move and straighten the deformed toes. However, with time, the joint becomes rigid or fixed. Patients with hammertoes may also have calluses or corns on the top of the middle joint of the toes or on the tips of the toes.

Hammertoes Treatments

Padding and taping is usually the first step in a treatment plan. Padding and taping the toe relieves the pressure and pain. Your podiatrist in Olney, MD, might recommend that you change to wider, more comfortable shoes and that you wear orthotic ( shoe inserts). Orthotics can reposition the affected toe and relieve pain and pressure. Your podiatrist might suggest exercises to strengthen and stretch your toe muscles. If conservative treatments don't help, your podiatrist might recommend surgery to straighten your toe. 

Focus on your life, not your discomfort. If you have hammertoes, call Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland at (301) 924-5044 today to schedule an appointment in Olney, MD. Call (301) 868-7670 to schedule an appointment in Clinton, MD. Call (301) 439-0300 to schedule an appointment in Silver Spring, MD. Call (301) 942-8110 to schedule an appointment in Kensington, MD. Our hammertoe treatments will relieve your pain and help you get back to a happy and healthy life.